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Farmers and ranchers pay top dollar for inadequate health insurance protection
Date:12/19/2007

Waltham, MAA new report issued today by The Access Project and Brandeis University found that farm and ranch operators, like many Americans, are seriously challenged by the cost of health care. While the vast majority of farm and ranch operators had insurance coverage, one in four said that health care costs contributed to financial problems for their families. The report, How Farmers and Ranchers Get Health Insurance and What They Spend for Health Care, shows a link between how farm and ranch operators get coverage and the amount of their overall healthcare expenses.

The report found that farm and ranch operators are far more likely to purchase coverage on the individual market than the population at large. It cautions that families forced to rely on this market may have no alternative but to pay high premiums for policies that also include significant deductibles, thus resulting in high overall costs for those who experience illness. Research has also shown that Americans delay seeking care due to medical costs and steep insurance premiums.

Family farmers and ranchers struggling to maintain their operations are not well-served by the current health insurance marketplace, said Carol Pryor, lead author of the report and Senior Policy Analyst at The Access Project. We found that those purchasing coverage directly on the individual market pay the highest premiums for coverage that often leaves them financially exposed.

Todays report is the second in a series of issue briefs based on a 2007 survey of farm and ranch operators in seven Great Plains states: Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The Access Project and its partners at Brandeis University and the University of North Dakota School of Medicines Center for Rural Health contracted with the USDAs National Agricultural Statistics Service to survey more than 2,000 non-corporate farm and ranch operators (those operating as sole proprietors
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Contact: Laura Gardner
gardner@brandeis.edu
781-736-4204
Brandeis University
Source:Eurekalert

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