House District 32 embodies major sectors of our state's economy including advanced manufacturing and technology, where employees likely receive health benefits from their employer. However, another industry keeping Indiana's economic engine moving is agriculture. In this field, many farmers are the owners of their operations and may have a couple or no employees. This session, I supported legislation that would create a more affordable health care option for Indiana Farm Bureau members.
A farmer's ability to work is heavily reliant on their physical health, but because health care costs continue to sky rocket, some choose to go without benefits or leave the industry. According to the Indiana Farm Bureau, 48% of its members who were under 65 chose to not get treatment for a health condition because of the cost.
If this bill is signed into law, members can access a month-to-month health care plan, which can cover office visits, prescription drug benefits, preventative services, and maternity and newborn care. Because premiums with this plan are not subsidized, the option could be more affordable to INFB members.
It is important to note that this plan does not meet all Affordable Care Act requirements, which means the Indiana Farm Bureau cannot consider this plan "insurance" although it will function similar to a traditional health insurance plan. If Senate Enrolled Act 148 is signed into law, members could access this new plan by the end of the year.
To help keep one of Indiana's most essential fields thriving, a new health plan through the Indiana Farm Bureau would ensure Hoosier farmers have affordable health care options. With the possibility of being able to impact more than 250,000 Hoosiers, I support this proposal to ensure our farmers and small-business owners can access a health care option that works best for them and their family.
Hoosiers who want to learn more about this legislation can visit infbhealthcare.org/faq.
State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) represents House District 32, which includes all of Tipton County and portions of Hamilton, Madison, Delaware, Howard and Grant counties.
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