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Serving: IN

Indiana Farm Bureau health plans off and running

Tom J. Bechman Ben Kron with parents Joyce and Randy Kron
STARTS WITH FARMERS: The heart and soul of Indiana Farm Bureau are farm families like this one. INFB President Randy Kron, wife Joyce and their son Ben farm near Evansville, Ind.
New coverage offers another health care option for INFB members.

Enrollment for new health plans offered by Indiana Farm Bureau is underway. Members accepted into the plans will receive coverage beginning Jan. 1.

If you don’t have health coverage or aren’t satisfied with what you have, check this out. Find details and choices for both families and individuals at infbhealthplans.com. Or call 888-964-0854 or visit your county Farm Bureau office for specifics. These health plans are open to both farm and associate members. Supplemental Medicare coverage is offered too.

That’s the basics, but there’s a much greater story to tell. It goes to the heart of what Indiana Farm Bureau is all about. Just one year ago, while INFB pursued these plans, it celebrated its 100th anniversary. The early days of the organization were all about farmers seeing a need, figuring out a solution and making it reality. What better way to cap off the first 100 years than to repeat the process once again!

See the need

“When I first became Indiana Farm Bureau president, I traveled the state and met many people,” says Randy Kron, who farms with his wife, Joyce, and their son Ben near Evansville, Ind.

“Time and again, I would hear the same story. People told me they simply couldn’t afford health insurance, or that one spouse worked off the farm just to get health coverage. Some said they had coverage, but very high premiums and high deductibles were impacting their family and farm business.

“Here are questions they asked: What is Indiana Farm Bureau doing about it? And when are you going to do it?”

He heard from people like Greg and Mindy Orschell in Franklin County, Ind. Both worked off the farm at one time, and Greg burned the candle at both ends. “He wanted to farm full time for years, but he has medical issues and needed health coverage,” Mindy says. “Ten years ago, he came home, and we’ve struggled with high deductibles and expensive coverage. We have two sons who may want to farm, but providing them with health coverage is a major obstacle.”

It didn’t take long for Kron to realize that many people, especially sole proprietors, needed more affordable health coverage.

“This is why Farm Bureau exists — to help people do together what they can’t do alone,” Kron says. “I knew then that we needed to find a solution.”

Make it happen

Kron motivated his team, and they attacked the issue — first quantifying the need, then finding other Farm Bureaus, like Tennessee Farm Bureau, who took this step years ago and could provide guidance.

The biggest obstacle was an Indiana statute requiring at least two people to form a group for coverage, knocking out sole proprietors. “We needed to change the law, so we went to work again,” Kron recalls.

With the help of numerous legislators and member support, the change passed both chambers, and Gov. Eric Holcomb signed it into law. Then INFB hired Patrick Williams as its health plan manager and put the wheels under coverage, which is considerably more affordable for those who qualify than coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

“I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish together, and that’s why I’m proud of these plans,” Kron says. “We listened to our members and found a solution, just like Farm Bureau has done for over 100 years.”

Comments? Email tom.bechman@farmprogress.com.

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