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

corn farmer from Rembrandt, Iowa purchases coverage on the individual market. Tim and his family have spent a significant part of their household income in health care costs for the past few years. He and his wife Teresa have separate policies due to her pre-existing health conditions which make her virtually ineligible for comprehensive coverage. Medical costs make it impossible for our family to save money, said Mr. Peterson. This past year we spent over $6,000 in premiums and another $10,000 in out of pocket expenses. The presidential candidates talk about the health care crisis, but its really a health cost crisis.

High health care costs that plague family farmers almost certainly also affect other small rural businesses, said Dr. Jeffrey Prottas, of Brandeis University and a report co-author. These finding may only be the tip of the iceberg. Other rural Americans may be finding it even harder to find quality affordable health care.

The finding that people paying high premiums were much more likely to have obtained coverage in the individual, non-group market raises concerns regarding policy proposals that look to the individual market as a means to expand coverage. The report states that policymakers may need to recognize that reliance on the private, individual market to expand insurance coverage cannot by itself provide a solution. Rather, to fashion effective solutions, they may need to combine elements that include cost-sharing assistance, market controls to restrain costs and maintain quality, consumer protections, and greater access to existing government-sponsored health care programs.


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Contact: Laura Gardner
gardner@brandeis.edu
781-736-4204
Brandeis University
Source:Eurekalert

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