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Finding affordable health care for farmers

Delegates to the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting in December asked IFB to identify affordable health care options for farmers. They did so as premiums and other health care costs continue to increase, and farm families have trouble finding affordable coverage.

IFB is responding with a two-pronged approach; focusing on what can be done for members from a practical standpoint while also taking a long-term policy approach.

IFB hosted a health care summit in Bloomington on March 13. The summit explored the history between IFB and health insurance, how other farm bureaus are addressing health insurance for their members, what’s currently available for farmers under the Affordable Care Act, the ways in which professional associations might be helping their members with health coverage, and health sharing programs.

Two groups within IFB are working on the issue. A health care working group includes representatives from all 18 IFB districts and a Young Leader. That group is charged with finding solutions for our members based on what is available in the marketplace. A SWAT team will look at the issue longer-term. That will include a review of IFB policy on health insurance to understand whether it is relevant in today’s world and whether it meets members’ needs. Both groups will consider and analyze information presented at the March summit.

The working group will meet in July. Based on material presented at the recent summit as well as an ongoing stream of information, the group will work toward a report for both the board of directors and for delegates at the 2018 annual meeting.

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