FARMERS NEED AFFORDABLE HEALTH INSURANCE
It wasn’t until the mandated Affordable Care Act that farmer Joe Reynolds first enrolled in a health insurance program, after seven years of farming. And it really got him thinking: how do farmers get a benefits package they may find at a more traditional job? One that will allow them to stay healthy, save for retirement, and most importantly manage risk in their businesses by protecting the farms most important asset: the farmer?
“When I started farming, I wasn’t considering health insurance,” Joe said at a recent event highlighting Georgia Organics’ affordable health insurance initiative. “But now I know it is an important tool for farmers looking to start and sustain their businesses.”
As Board Chair of Georgia Organics, Joe has spearheaded these conversations with other stakeholders around the issue, highlighting the need for sound business and risk management solutions for farmer entrepreneurs, starting with affordable health insurance.
After years of surveys, student-led research, identifying stakeholders and funding, this initiative acknowledged a milestone on Oct. 9th at a video premiere event at Sweet Water Brewery. The short film, featuring farmers experiences with health insurance access, highlighted the success of Georgia Organics’ pilot insurance enrollment program.
“The biggest thing is peace of mind,” shared Reggie Ramos of Grow with the Flow, a Bridge Program enrollee, at the premiere. “Having this coverage, it just allows us to do what we do best– farm.”
However, we know that there is still more to be done.
“We were covered in the Affordable Care Act,” Bobby Jones, who lives outside of the Kaiser Service area, shared with the group at the premiere. “But having our son, increasing our family size at the same income level, brought us into the coverage gap because Georgia didn’t expand Medicaid. It was the first time my wife and I really questioned whether or not farming was a long-term career option for us.”
As we gear up for our second year as a Community Partner in the Kaiser Bridge Program, we’re also looking to expand this initiative. Help us do so by donating to Georgia Organics today! We will use these funds to bring additional farmers into the Kaiser Bridge program and support farmers outside of the service area with applying for marketplace insurance.
Learn more about the Kaiser Bridge Program by watching the video below.
Farmers Need Affordable Health Insurance from Georgia Organics on Vimeo.