Indiana Farm Bureau – Health Benefit Plan FAQs

For more than 100 years, Indiana Farm Bureau has existed to serve its members. INFB has a long history of addressing member needs in all 92 counties and adding value through member benefits. We have spent the last year researching ways to address the unsustainable increases in the cost of health coverage and the options to provide access to more affordable benefits care.

Hoosier farmers need a more affordable health care option, and the key messages below can be shared by our membership.

  • We have heard consistently from our members that rising healthcare costs are impacting the financial stability of the family farm and rural communities. Many of our members go without coverage.
  • Through a year of extensive research of the health benefit plans currently available, we have found that there isn’t a single option that will allow us to offer an affordable plan for the self-employed and members in rural communities.
  • Our solution will help many of our members, but will not address every individual health care need.
  • INFB has a 100 year history of creating solutions for our members. Our members have asked for help and we are responding.

We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers regarding our proposed solution – Senate Bill 184.

1. Why does Indiana Farm Bureau want to offer health benefit plans to its members?

For the past several years, members have asked repeatedly for INFB to find a way to offer more choices to reduce their health care costs. A recent survey found:

  • 78% of Hoosier farmers say the cost of health care is impacting their business.
  • 48% under 65 have chosen not to get treatment for a health condition because of the cost.

2. Who will benefit from INFB’s health benefit plans?

Members in all 92 counties who do not have access to group insurance plans or work somewhere for health benefits such as farmers, those who work on farms, agribusiness professionals and rural entrepreneurs with fewer than two employees or who do not qualify for significant Affordable Care Act subsidies.

3. Why not use an existing option?

Through a year of extensive research of the health care benefit plans currently available, we have found there isn’t a single option that creates significant savings for the sole proprietor. Plans like the ones offered through the Indiana Chamber of Commerce benefit small businesses with two or more employees. Since a vast majority of INFB members are sole proprietors, they do not qualify for those types of health plans.

4. What’s the legislative fix?

For INFB to offer a more affordable health care option for our members, we need a statutory change. The statutory change will allow INFB to offer a non-insurance, high quality and more affordable health benefit plan to our members.

5. Why is it called a health benefit plan and not insurance?

Our solution creates a health benefit plan for our members. Since it will not meet all of the requirements under ACA and not all applicants will receive coverage due to certain preexisting conditions, the solution we are pursuing can’t be called ‘insurance’. Importantly, the health benefit plan will function just like any other traditional health insurance plan. 

6. Will this plan impact the health coverage marketplace?

INFB engaged Lewis & Ellis – a nationally respected actuary firm – to analyze the impact on the marketplace. They concluded that our plan would have a minimal impact, accounting for only a .1% to .2% premium increase for those in the marketplace. Because our health benefit plans are targeted to address a gap in current offerings, the number of Hoosiers who would be looking into products like these would be somewhat limited.

7. What would INFB’s health benefit plan cover?

Our health benefit plan will be very robust, allowing members to choose the coverages they need. Our associates will work with our members to ensure their individual needs are met and they understand their coverages. Through a thirdparty administrator, we’ll be able to offer plans that feature many essential health benefits including, but not limited to:

  • Office visits
  • Hospitalization and tele-medicine
  • Prescription drug benefits
  • Preventative, routine and wellness services
  • Maternity, newborn and pediatric care
  • Outpatient services
  • Mental health and substance abuse counseling and treatment
  • Emergency room services
  • Dental and vision coverage
  • Rehabilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory services

8. What happens if a member gets sick? Will I lose my coverage if I get sick?

Once members are accepted and pay their premiums they will not be denied coverage as long as they continue to be an INFB member. Similar to traditional health care plans, premiums may increase as the performance of the pool of a particular plan changes or as the individual ages.

9. Do other state Farm Bureaus offer this type of health benefit?

Yes. Consultation with other state Farm Bureaus was part of our extensive research. Three of them – Tennessee, Kansas and Iowa – have pursued a similar approach. Tennessee Farm Bureau in particular has offered a health benefit plan to their members for over 25 years.

10. How will INFB create a more affordable health care option?

Since each applicant will be individually rated based on their medical history, INFB will be able to offer coverage for significantly less than similar coverage under the ACA where premiums are not subsidized.

11. Will members be denied coverage?

Our goal is to cover as many members as possible. To create a health benefit plan that is more affordable, some applicants may not qualify for INFB’s plan. In Tennessee, for example, nearly 9 out of 10 applicants receive coverage.

12. Could any Indiana Farm Bureau member take advantage of this health benefit plan?

The health plan we are proposing would become a benefit available to Indiana Farm Bureau members. Defining who is a farmer is a judgement call and could leave out agribusiness professionals and other small businesses that support farmers and rural economies.

Limiting those who could join Farm Bureau or who could buy the proposed health care benefit would also limit the size of the pool of lives covered and ability of those in the pool to share risk.

13. Why not cover everyone?

Our solution will help many of our members, but will not address every individual health care need. Our members stressed the importance of cost savings throughout this process. Without cost savings of individual underwriting, we wouldn’t be able to offer something substantially different than what is on the market today. This innovative approach will create substantial savings for many of our members.

14. What are the advantages to the Indiana Farm Bureau health benefit plan compared to other non-traditional health coverages?

Our health benefit plan will function like any other traditional health benefit plan. Plans will include premiums and deductibles. Most importantly, it is a legally binding contract outlining specific coverages based on individual health conditions at the time of application.

Indiana Farm Bureau is at its core an organization designed to serve our members’ needs. All of our plans will have clearly defined consumer protection provisions.