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Farmers Facing High Healthcare Costs


Aired 4/19/09

About one in three family farmers and ranchers in California don't have access to low-cost group health insurance. A new report from the California Endowment says farmers' out-of-pocket expenses and premiums average more than 88-hundred dollars a year. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.

98 percent of California farms are family-owned and operated. Those that have to buy health insurance on the individual market spend a lot more on premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

The report says more than half of all farmers get coverage through other employment. But among those whose main job is farming, nearly half purchase health insurance on their own.

About seven out of ten farmers say they've had to dip into their savings to pay for health care.

Family-owned small businesses are especially susceptible to rising healthcare costs. The report says in California, these businesses carry an average of more than 55-hundred dollars in dental and medical debt.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.



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