Ritter: Indiana Farm Bureau continues to offer affordable, reliable health benefits

Since 2020, Indiana Farm Bureau Health Plans has helped provide more affordable and reliable benefits to INFB members.

Megan Ritter, senior executive director of administration with Indiana Farm Bureau, says the effort was driven by member needs.

“We were hearing on a very consistent basis that our farm families had different needs than other Hoosiers when it came to health benefits. Seventy-eight percent of our members were telling us that the cost was just so high for healthcare and then also they were saying that they weren’t seeking coverage or healthcare because of the exorbitant cost,” she says. “Indiana Farm Bureau Health Plans were really created as a way to offer more affordable health benefits to those who are members of Indiana Farm Bureau.”

She tells Brownfield that the organization went through a legislative process to offer healthcare options to farmers and sole proprietors.  

“We are listening to our members and constantly trying to understand what their needs are and in order to really address the gap that was happening in the state, farmers and sole proprietors had even fewer options than those who have more than two employees or work in a bigger organization before we passed the legislation. They had a very specific need and to address that need, we had to pass legislation that allowed us to provide these health benefits to reduce the cost. That’s why we needed the legislation and that’s why we worked with the legislature to offer those health plans in the 2020 legislative session. We got a lot of great support because the need was apparent and we’re now able to meet the needs of those members by offering health benefit plans.”

Ritter says INFB Health Plans are similar to traditional health plans but are available at a much lower cost.

“We’ve been able to reduce the costs to families from the Affordable Care Act, unsubsidized plans, by 50-70 percent,” he says. “That’s a significant cost savings. These are substantial plans that offer great benefits at a much-reduced cost.”

Ritter says enrollment in INFB Health Plans totaled 3,000 enrolled plans, which equates to more than 6,000 lives covered.

“That’s a really strong result. We know that the need is still growing out there, but we’re very pleased,” she says. “We’re a new benefit attached to a longstanding organization that is operating in all 92 counties and has a long-standing tradition of delivering value to rural communities.”

INFB Health Plans recently announced it will not raise rates for Traditional Health Plans, which provide health coverage options for individuals and families for the 2023 calendar year. This is the second consecutive year that rates have not increased.

“Not only are we delivering value to our members, but we’re also being able to maintain those costs as well,” she says. “Hopefully it is a testament to our values and what were trying to deliver by being able to deliver that a couple of years in a row,” she says.

Existing members may apply for INFB Health Plans at any time, but membership is required prior to applying for coverage, and individuals must be a member of INFB for at least 30 days to apply for a Traditional Health Plan or a dental and vision plan.

Click here for more information.

Audio: Megan Ritter

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