Farmers and Ranchers on the Great Plains: How is Their Health Insurance?

The Access Project, Boston, analyzed a 2007 household survey of 2,000 farmers and ranchers in seven Great Plains states to examine the cost and adequacy of their health insurance and their overall financial status. 

Although most farmers and ranchers have health insurance, they typically purchase it individually in the “non-group” market, which may provide fewer benefits at higher cost than employer-sponsored insurance. This situation can leaves families with greater financial vulnerability in the event of an illness, injury or other health care event.

The project team produced 11 issue briefs summarizing the results of their analysis.

In a September 2008 issue brief—Who Experiences Financial Hardship Because of Health Care Costs?—the project team reported that 44 percent of respondents spent more than 10 percent of their income on health insurance premiums and additional out-of-pocket medical and prescription medication costs. Among those who said that their principal occupation was farming or ranching, this figure rose to 54 percent.