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High-Risk Insurance Pools: Help for WI Farmers

August 2, 2010

MADISCON, Wis. - Many of Wisconsin's family farmers have either had to pay exorbitant premium rates or go without health insurance. Now, a new high-risk insurance pool is available in Wisconsin to people who have been without health insurance for six months or have been denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

John Crabtree, media director with the Center for Rural Affairs, says this new pool will be especially important to the state's rural communities.

"Because we have such a high rate of self-employment and small business employment, there are a lot of people outside a health insurance group who are either not self-insuring or are trying to get insurance through a small-business pool, and who also have a pre-existing condition."

The pool will serve as a bridge to the insurance exchanges that will be established in 2014 as part of federal health care reform. At that time, insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage or charge higher rates based on pre-existing medical conditions.

Crabtree says the cost of health insurance for farmers has often been prohibitive.

"I could fill a room with people, fill a room with farmers, who've told me they're paying upwards of $1,000 a month for health insurance for themselves and their spouse, and that's simply not affordable for most small family farms."

Crabtree says it has been a matter of economics for insurance companies.

"If you're General Motors and you're buying health insurance for literally thousands or tens of thousands of employees, you can get a much better rate per employee than somebody who maybe employs two or three people."

Crabtree says the cost of the high-risk health care coverage will range from $127 to $474 per month, depending on the individual situation.

Wisconsinites can get more information about the plan at, or by calling 888-253-2698.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI