Indiana Farm Bureau hosted state legislators Wednesday in downtown Indy to discuss policy priorities for the new legislative session that opened on Monday. The top priority this year is healthcare. Legislation is being proposed that will allow for sole proprietors to have options for more affordable health coverage.
“How affordable that will be that remains to be seen,” said INFB Vice President Kendell Culp, a Rensselaer farmer. “That kind of depends on who gets approved for that…you know, what their medical conditions are, but what we’ve seen in other states that have sponsored this type of legislation, that have offered it, that it saves a significant amount, is what they’re telling us, in premium.”
Culp says it’s important for members to know that they aren’t starting from scratch with this legislation. Other states have done it and INFB is looking to partner with another state Farm Bureau to accomplish the goal.
“That state already has this and has had a health benefit program for 20 years. We are hopeful by the end of the year that we could be in a position to start selling policies. Kansas did this last year. Kansas sold policies within that first year and are up and running, and it had really good results from that.”
The proposed plan wouldn’t guarantee coverage for a sole proprietor, but it gives another option for coverage.
“There’s no product out there on the market right now that fits everybody’s needs, and so yes there are underwriting guidelines that would go with this. If you have certain serious conditions, you may not qualify for this plan, so you would have to look to the marketplace for another plan that you would qualify for and those are out there.”
Culp said they’re hearing from some states that about 80% of those who apply meet the underwriting guidelines and have a policy written for them.
Early on, the prospects of getting the legislation through to Governor Eric Holcomb’s desk looks promising. Indiana Senate Majority Floor Leader Mark Messmer from Jasper told the luncheon crowd that the legislation has a lot of support in the Senate. Indiana House Ag Chair Don Lehe from Brookston told HAT, “Yeah, it will be a priority. (There is) a lot of support in the House.”