Russ and Cindy Williams farm together near Fairbury. They are members of the Jefferson County Farm Bureau and have seen the cost of their health insurance continue to rise, especially over the past two years. With neither working off the farm, two grown and married children, and both being too young for Medicare, it was just the two of them looking for a cost-efficient plan.
“We originally had an individual health plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield, and when they got out of the individual health care market last year, we were told our plan no longer existed. We then signed up with Medica. We were frustrated with the process but happy to have an option for health insurance. We believe we need to have health insurance,” Cindy Williams said.
For 2018, the Williams’ are paying nearly $25,000 for the year. Around a month ago, they received a letter about the 2019 enrollment. For the same exact health plan, the cost is going up to more than $26,000 per year.
“I felt like we were up against the wall and we didn’t have a lot of options. When my son-in-law told us about a new health plan Nebraska Farm Bureau was offering to its members, we looked into it and signed up on the first day. For the same coverage, our cost went down to $1,564.18 a month, just under $19,000 a year. We are saving more than $7,000 a year making this switch,” Williams said.
The Williams are awaiting their expected final acceptance and enrollment into the Nebraska Farm Bureau Member Health Plan from Medica. The likely savings was incredible in their eyes.
Large Group Price
“My jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe we were finally able to get into a large group health insurance plan. It has been so needed for those of us in agriculture. I would encourage other farmers and ranchers to look into this health insurance plan. You might be surprised at the results you see,” she said.
Together, Nebraska Farm Bureau and Medica designed an exclusive portfolio of coverage options for farmers, ranchers, and those in agribusiness who are looking for health insurance for themselves, their families, and their employees. Nebraska Farm Bureau and Medica know agriculture needs affordable options and needs a good provider network so it can have a choice of doctors.
“We believe that on average, expected premium cost of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Member Health Plan will be 25 percent less than the expected premium cost of the current individual market for farmers and ranchers, saving them money,” Rob Robertson, NEFB chief administrator said. Open enrollment for this plan began Oct. 1, 2018 and will go through Dec. 1, 2018. These plans are exclusive to Farm Bureau Financial Services Agents.
To be eligible for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Member Health Plan, members need to meet eligibility criteria of being a farmer, rancher, or agribusiness professional.
- For farmers and ranchers, 50 percent of their gross income must be in production agriculture.
- For agribusinesses, 50 percent of their gross income must come from production agriculture and must provide inputs and services essential to agriculture.
- Be a Nebraska Farm Bureau member in good standing since July 1, 2018. And maintain their Nebraska Farm Bureau membership throughout the coverage period.
- Live within the selected network's service area to enroll in and remain in the plan.
- Employers, dependents, and full-time (more than 30 hours) employees only are eligible. Part-time/seasonal employees are not eligible.
- Be a member of the new Nebraska Farm Bureau Employer Insurance Consortium. Farm Bureau Financial Services (FBFS) agents will help them become a member.