Health plans

Indiana Farm Bureau health plans cover nearly 5,000 Hoosiers in first year

Courtesy of Indiana Bureau of Agriculture

Courtesy of Indiana Bureau of Agriculture

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Nearly 5,000 people are now covered by Indiana Farm Bureau health plans just over a year after coverage began.

Indiana Farm Bureau Health Plans Director Patrick Williams said he has seen an increase in Farm Bureau membership as people look to enroll in health plans.

“About 34% of those who apply are new members,” Williams said. “So clearly looking for health care coverage – something that’s a bit more affordable.”

The organization has found great interest in counties neighboring major cities in other states.

Besides Indiana’s metropolitan areas, plans show higher enrollments in Indiana counties bordering Chicago, Louisville, and Cincinnati.

Many health insurance plans limit people to specific geographic areas for medical care.

But Williams said her health plans have greater value thanks to a provider with a national network that covers 95% of doctors and hospitals nationwide.

“It allows our members to be able to cross state lines and see a doctor, while still being networked. Because if you go out of the network it can really mean financial ruin,” he said.

Williams said the plans also help people see specialists directly rather than having to get a referral.

Of those who apply, Williams said 85% are in the approval process. And just because someone has a pre-existing condition doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be denied.

“The older we get, the more likely that is to happen,” Williams said. “And so we have a few plans that will actually have a six-month waiting period, for pre-existing conditions. And we have others that may have a slightly longer waiting period of 12 months. But we do offer the ability to potentially rule out certain pre-existing conditions to cause them.

The Indiana Farm Bureau estimates that Hoosiers who enroll in individual health plans with the organization save an average of 30 to 50 percent over what they would pay in the Affordable Care Act market.

In 2020, the Indiana Farm Bureau urged state lawmakers to pass legislation this would allow the organization to offer health plans as an alternative and more affordable option in the market.

Contact journalist Samantha at shorton@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.

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