When Bobby Jones of Babe and Sage Farm in Gordon put a screw through his hand while building a hoop house, he was uninsured.
“Thankfully, the screw missed any bones or tendons, which could have meant surgery and months of physical therapy,” Jones says. “They gave me an IV of antibiotics and pain medication for a while, wrapped the wound, sent me home with a prescription for more antibiotics and pain meds, and scheduled a follow-up with a hand surgeon for the following week. When I called the hand surgeon, they said an initial consultation would be $2,000.”
However, without any traditional health insurance coverage, Jones had to look for a more affordable way to address his injury.
“Thanks to the outpouring of support from friends and customers, we found a sliding scale clinic with a doctor we love who was able to do the follow-up and determine I did not need to see a hand surgeon,” Jones says.
But medical bills aren’t the only costs that come with an unexpected illness or injury– days off the farm or away from the market, household bills and other responsibilities can add to the financial stresses of an operation.
“I spent four days in bed, not working,” Jones says. “But I knew I needed to get back to the farm and working, and the doctor said it probably helped me regain my flexibility and range of motion a lot quicker.”
Supplemental insurance options, such as Accident Insurance offered by Peachtree Heritage Group, can be useful tools in managing these costs. For example, an accident insurance plan in this situation could’ve paid a range $2,000-7,000 directly to Bobby depending on the policy level, and could be used to cover any costs– from medical bills to extra labor.
“These plans are designed to be supplemental insurance, but with no other options in Georgia it is a good stop-gap measure for those who fall into the Medicaid gap like us,” Jones says.
As a result of their own on-farm accident, Bobby and Chelsea decided to purchase an accident insurance plan through Peachtree Heritage. These insurance plans are popular among young and beginning farmers because of their ability to meet farmers needs and help absorb unexpected medical costs with a low monthly premium.
An accident insurance plan at an elite, preferred or standard level can be purchased and cover costs such as
- ER visits
- X-ray and other diagnostics scans
- Ambulance transportation
- Surgery (including Laceration/ puncture wound repair)
- Observation room benefits
- Physical Therapy
- Fracture and dislocation benefits
- Concussion and Coma benefits
- Limb dismemberment
- Accidental death
- Family lodging benefit
- Family education benefit
Monthly premiums start at just $16.00 -$97.00 depending on age, level of coverage, and type of coverage selected. (Individual, Couple, Single Parent and Family Coverage is available-premiums vary with choice selected)
If a claim is made, the plan holder will be directly paid an amount determined by the accident and coverage level. Because the payment is not made directly to doctors or hospitals, the individual is able to best determine how to use the funds. This means while the payment from a claim could be used to help cover medical bills, it could also be used to pay electric bills or hire additional labor if unable to work. This flexibility makes accident insurance a viable option for farms that need supplemental savings plans to cover associated costs with an on-farm accident, or for operations that can’t incorporate traditional health insurance costs into their operation.
However, what makes the plan most appealing to many farmers is the cash value benefit. You are paid if you have claims or if you stay well. Peachtree Heritage Group returns your premiums, less any, after 25 years, or on the policy anniversary date following your 65th birthday, whichever comes first. And, cash value benefits begin building after five years in the plan. The longer you keep the plan, the more your cash value benefit grows. The policy also includes a Safe Living Benefit. This benefit begins on the Cash Value Maturity Date and will be paid at the end of each new completed policy year, less any claims paid from the year, up to $320 per year.
While there are many benefits of a plan such as this, there are some serious considerations. Supplemental insurance is not a savings account and premiums do not accumulate interest. This Accident plan also does not cover costs associated with preventative care and routine check-ups, which may be important for some families to consider.
Peachtree Heritage also offers similar plans for Cancer and Heart policies (which do offer a Wellness Benefit) along with Child and Adult Life Insurance.
“I personally know from experience that these policies are effective and affordable and the agricultural industry in general is lacking in both of those aspects,” says Leigh Olsen of Peachtree Heritage. “Farming is what I’m passionate about and people like Chelsea and Bobby just make me want to work harder and make sure everyone knows that this insurance option is available to help protect their family.”
Georgia Organics is unveiling its new Get Covered! initiative, which explores affordable health insurance options for Georgia farmers. To learn more, visit www.georgiaorganics.org/for-farmers/health-insurance or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about accident , cancer and heart supplemental insurance offered by Peachtree Heritage, contact Leigh Olsen by emailing email@example.com or calling (478) 718- 7380.