Because we had been hearing and seeing so much about sharp increases in health insurance costs through the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, one of the reporters on my team suggested we do a story about how farmers are being impacted.
Another reporter piped up and suggested we also talk to farmers whose insurance premiums have gone down, as we always strive for balance in our news stories. We all know those whose premiums have gone up and services decreased, so went on the hunt for a farmer with a different story to tell.
I wrote a simple post on Facebook, asking farmers to message me if their insurance premiums have gone down with Obamacare. I did not hear from anyone whose premiums have gone down or services increased.
I did hear from plenty of frustrated farmers. Within seconds of putting out the call for those pleased with Obamacare, one friend wrote, “Guessing that will be a short list.”
Other comments from across the Midwest and beyond rolled in quickly:
“Let me guess — your message alerts are not blowing up. My parents’ premiums doubled.”
“I’d like to find those people, as well. Maybe they would know who to buy my insurance from next year. My plan is no longer available.”
“Hahaha! That’s a joke right Cyndi? Total out of pocket for us has had double-digit increases every year since Obamacare. If we meet our family deductible of over $13,000 total out of pocket for our family of four will be over $31,000 this year.”
A friend from New York State’s dairy country wrote, “I’ve heard a few who are now able to offer employees health insurance where they couldn’t before the ACA. I only know a couple farmers who meet the net worth limit for subsidized premiums and they are more like hobby farms or large gardeners than actual farmers (but don’t tell them that).”
“Our provider is no longer covering Missouri. They told us to look for other sources.”
“My family health insurance goes from $700/month in 2016 to $1,000/month in 2017 and we are all healthy.”
“Mine is going up double digits. At minimum.”
“Ours more than doubled. I canceled it and got it cheaper with a private carrier. We never used it one time.”
“My family of four went from about $1,200 a month to about $2,600 a month here in the state of California.”
“My private insurance is going up 20 percent this year alone.”
“It went from $3,000 deductible to $12,000 deductible.”
“Nearly $800 monthly for our young family of three with a $15,000 deductible. It’s gone up at least 25 percent each year and we get notices every year saying our provider is no longer servicing our area and to go to the marketplace. We are trying to stay on private insurance as long as possible.”
There were many more messages and emails and calls from frustrated farmers. One of them summed it up well:
“Obamacare may be my life’s biggest annoyance. It sounds trivial, but it is really getting ridiculous.”