Wright supports allowing Indiana Farm Bureau to offer health care coverage to farmers
INDIANAPOLIS – State Representative Melanie Wright (D-Yorktown) today supported the final passage of legislation important to Indiana's agriculture community. Senate Bill 184 allows the Indiana Farm Bureau to offer health care coverage to members of the organization, including farmers.
“As every farmer will tell you, life on the farm means you make tough choices every day,” said Wright. “More often than not, farmers do not have access to the same health benefit plans as other business owners because they are family-run and do not hire more than two employees.
“This leaves them stuck with the most expensive plan options and a tough decision to make for themselves and their families,” she continued.
“I've been advocating for this legislation all session long because it will help more Hoosier farmers find affordable health care coverage. I look forward to having the governor sign this legislation into law.”
Farmers across the country are facing tight profit margins and the rising cost of prescription drugs and health care. That means some farmers do not purchase health insurance coverage and put off receiving medical treatment. Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron has said that cost and availability of health insurance is frequently on the minds of members when he travels the state.
According to the Indiana Farm Bureau, access to affordable health insurance is a commonly mentioned concern of its members across the state. As small business professionals, many in Indiana’s agriculture industry—whether in production or agribusiness—do not have access to cost-effective health insurance coverage for themselves or for their employees, if they have them. In fact, according to a survey that the Farm Bureau released last fall to its members, 73% of the 2,000 members who responded to the survey said they have no employees.
The Indiana Farm Bureau leadership hopes to start offering health plans for next year. Once members are on the plan, they won't be removed from the plan due to health issues. This bill has broad support from hospital associations and the Indiana Rural Health Association.
Senate Bill 184 passed with a vote of 93 to 2 and is now headed to the governor to be signed into law.