Delegates request options for affordable health care

IFB has examined this issue in the past, but delegates ask the board to broaden the scope.

Delegates _request _options _affordable _healthcare _1_636482498756795027

A Sense of the Delegate Body Resolution passed at this week’s Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting, calling on the IFB Board of Directors to report back on health care options at next year’s meeting.

By Deana Stroisch

County Farm Bureau delegates this week approved a Sense of the Delegate Body Resolution, calling on the Illinois Farm Bureau Board of Directors to identify affordable health care options for members.

The resolution, introduced by Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kendall and Will counties, requests the board provide a report to delegates at next year’s annual meeting.

“The cost of quality health care insurance coverage continues to skyrocket, driving farm families off the farm to search for employer-supported health care packages and options,” the resolution read in part. “And the Affordable Care Act has proven to be anything but affordable.”

Mike Rauch, vice president of the Cook County Farm Bureau, said he’s felt “completely powerless” as his health care costs have increased over the years.

“It is something that I think has gotten out of hand,” he said.

Related: Click here for more from the IFB Annual Meeting.

Jennifer Vance, IFB’s deputy general counsel, noted a similar resolution passed during IFB’s 1998 Annual Meeting. A task force was put together, she said, which found “no viable options for group type coverage for IAA members.” She said the group type coverage would have a guaranteed issue, no individual underwriting and a flat rate.

Janet McCabe, president of Cook County Farm Bureau, said the issue needs to be re-examined.

“After 20 years, things have changed in the health care market,” she said. “I don’t think we should fall back on saying this issue was looked at 20 years ago and there were no viable options.”

Paul Siegel of Will County said a typical insurance plan may not be the solution. He encouraged IFB to “broaden our scope.”

“We are all in dire need of some help,” he said.

After the meeting, Mark Gebhards, IFB’s executive director of governmental affairs and commodity services, said Farm Bureau understands the concerns of farmers and will follow through with the Sense of the Delegate Body Resolution.

“Health care is a major concern for our membership,” he said. “It’s an important one, and it’s not going away.”

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