Farmers, Ranchers Have Higher Premiums, Personal Expenses for Health Care, Survey Finds

Farmers and ranchers on average spend about twice as much on health care than non-farmers, according to a report released on Tuesday by The Access Project, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. The report was based on a 2007 survey of 2,017 noncorporate farm and ranch operators in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota (Yee, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 9/16). The survey, which was sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, had an 80% response rate (AP/Lincoln Journal Star, 9/16).

According to the report, nearly one-quarter of the respondents said medical costs contributed to financial problems for them or a member of their household (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 9/16). In addition, the report found that farmers who have financial problems spend 42% of their incomes on health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket health care expenses (AP/Lincoln Journal Star, 9/16).

According to the report, farmers and ranchers who responded to the survey on average spent $11,200 on health care, compared with nonfarmers who spent an average of $5,600. According to the Star Tribune, farmers have higher average incomes and are more likely to have insurance coverage than other U.S. residents; however, most farmers purchase individual health plans, which often cost more than group coverage through a large employer (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 9/16).

Online The report is available online.

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