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

or partnerships).

Findings from the report include:

  • Families on average spent $7,247 in 2006 on insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs, while individuals spent $3,619.

  • Peoples overall healthcare expenditures were mainly determined by the market in which they obtained insurance.

  • People who paid high premiums ($500 a month or more) had significantly higher healthcare expenditures than those who paid lower amounts. While just over one-third of those surveyed had policies with high premiums and high deductibles ($500 or more), nearly two thirds of families who bought coverage directly on the individual market.had these types of policies.

  • Controlling for age and health status, families purchasing insurance from an agent in the individual market spent $4,359 more than those able to secure insurance coverage through off-farm employment.

  • Comparing within premium categories (high/low), those with high deductibles generally had higher overall health care costs than those with low deductibles. For example, among families paying high premiums, those with high deductibles spent 22 percent more than those with low deductibles.

  • Four in five families overall had insurance plans with high deductibles, suggesting that more comprehensive coverage with low deductibles is not readily available, especially in the individual market.

Many people are being forced to make the choice between getting jobs off the farm or ranch to get more affordable insurance, or else they need to use money to pay for medical bills that could otherwise be invested in farm or ranch operations, explained Dr. Alana Knudson, Associate Director for Research at the Center for Rural Health, University of North Dakota School of Medicine, and a co-author of the study, Either way, the profitability of their businesses is hurt, which has an impact on the overall economy.

Tim Peterson, a soybean and
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Contact: Laura Gardner
gardner@brandeis.edu
781-736-4204
Brandeis University
Source:Eurekalert

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