Annual health expenditures vary for farm households depending on insurance type

A chart showing the annual health expenditures for farm households by insurance type.

Health insurance options in the United States tend to be employer-sponsored. While the share of farm operator household members without health insurance is about the same as the overall U.S. population, such a system can present challenges to self-employed individuals. A farm business does not generally offer employment-based health insurance, but farm operator households are frequently covered by health insurance from the off-farm employment of the operator or spouse. Farm operator households are more likely to be headed by an individual over age 65 and have average incomes higher than the general population, which can contribute to higher health expenditures (which include both out-of-pocket costs and insurance premiums). With respect to the source of insurance, farm households purchasing individual health insurance directly from private vendors are likely to spend more on health care than those with other sources of health insurance, while households without any insurance coverage have the lowest health care expenditures. This chart appears in "Health Care Expenditures of Self-Employed Farm Households" in the September 2012 issue of ERS's Amber Waves magazine.

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