Bartels: Health benefits for our farmers

Posted by: Jordan Wallace  | Thursday, March 19, 2020

Farmers are critical to feeding the world and supporting our state and local economies. Unfortunately, many farmers are leaving the agriculture industry in pursuit of other careers offering health care benefits. Others are choosing to forgo medical treatment and insurance because the costs are too high. As vice chair of the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, I strongly supported legislation allowing the Indiana Farm Bureau to offer affordable health benefits to its members and their families.

Many employees receive health insurance through their employers, however, the majority of local farmers are sole proprietors. Those who do not have access to group insurance plans through an employer, have fewer than two employees or do not qualify for plans offered under the Affordable Care Act, could benefit from this innovative solution provided by the Farm Bureau.

This new health care option could be available to Hoosiers by the end of the year. The plan will cover essential health care needs such as office visits, prescription drug benefits, preventative services, and maternity and newborn care at an affordable rate. Because this new health plan will not meet ACA requirements, it will not be called "insurance," but will function similarly to a traditional health insurance plan.

Members who seek out this health care option will notice more affordable rates because this plan is not subsidized through ACA. As a member accepts and begins paying premiums, their coverage will not be denied.

Farming requires a great deal of physical labor, and the health of workers in this industry is vital to ensure they can carry out their daily duties. To continue having access to the goods provided by our hardworking farming community and keep our economy moving forward, farmers need more affordable health care options. We are grateful for our local farmers who have contributed to the success of our communities, and hope they will soon be able to benefit from a new health care option.

For more about this legislation, visit


State Rep. Stephen Bartels (R-Eckerty) represents House District 74,
which includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.
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