Open enrollment for the 2020 NEFB Member Health Plan begins Nov. 1, 2019 and ends Dec. 15, 2019.

While this has been a trying year for many in agriculture, Nebraska Farm Bureau continues to do all it can to assist in offering farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses affordable health insurance in 2020.

“We are pleased to announce that enrollment has begun for our Nebraska Farm Bureau Member Health Plan for 2020 that will be offered by our Medica insurance partner and policies for this upcoming year will generally include the same networks, covered services, and benefits as they did in 2019.” said NEFB Chief Administrator Rob Robertson. “The best news of all is that the Plan will once again be on average 25 percent less costly than individual policies sold on the federal marketplace exchange.”

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Member Health Plan (Consortium Plan) was developed so Farm Bureau agents would have a unique health insurance option to offer farmers, ranchers, and certain agribusiness owners struggling with availability and the high cost of health insurance.

“Essentially, the Consortium Plan fills a gap for farmers, ranchers and agribusiness owners, who don’t qualify for the ACA subsidies and find individual coverage too expensive.  Many farmers, ranchers and agribusiness owners, in this category have already left the market or are seeking non-insurance alternatives.” Robertson said.

“This product is targeted at giving those farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness owners and their families with comprehensive health coverage at a more affordable price. For farmers and ranchers that do qualify for an ACA subsidy, and ACA plan will likely still be there most affordable option.”

This is not an “open” product, available to anyone. Only Farm Bureau agents can sell this Plan and only Farm Bureau members in Nebraska in good standing as of August 31, 2019, are eligible to purchase it.  Farm Bureau members enrolled in the Plan must maintain their Nebraska Farm Bureau membership throughout the coverage period.

Changes made to the Plan for 2020 

“The 2020 plan is a member-based plan. NOT an employer-based plan because of some ongoing legal challenges to large group association health plans. That means that every member subscriber (employer and employee) who is going to be in the group needs to have their own Farm Bureau membership and apply for NFBEIC (“Consortium”) membership,” Robertson said.

“For 2020, employees of employers who were in the Plan in 2019 will be allowed to become a member of NEFB until December 5, 2019 and be eligible for the plan. Also, new employees who are employed by members in good standing on August 31, 2019 will have until Dec. 5, 2019 to join NEFB to become eligible.”

“The Plan does slightly increase the deductibles and Out-of-Pocket maximums although deductibles are now embedded which are better for our members. Also, in 2020, there will be a decrease in office visit and prescription drug co-pays,” said Robertson. 

Eligibility of Farmers, Ranchers, and Agribusinesses

The same eligibility criteria for farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses is in place for the 2020 plan. In order to apply for membership in the Consortium and enroll in the plan, members will again have to attest that 50 percent of their gross income comes from production agriculture or from services or inputs provided to production agriculture or are employed by someone who meets these criteria.  

“Affordable health insurance and access to health care for farm/ranch families and agribusiness members and their families continues to be a financial burden. NEFBs ability to offer coverage through a large group plan for 2019 was a step in the right direction. Even though we have had to slightly revise our approach in 2020, we are still working to provide affordable coverage options sold exclusively by our Farm Bureau Financial Services agents for our members and their families on the farm, ranch, or in agribusiness,” Robertson said.

These plans are offered exclusively by Farm Bureau Financial Services (FBFS) agents. For more information go to www.nefbhealth.org  or contact your FBFS agent to enroll in the 2020 plan.