KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

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).

The report is available online.

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