Kansas Farmers in Heavy Debt Despite Insurance

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Most Kansas farm families have health insurance but carry heavy loads of medical debt anyway.

That's the conclusion of a survey commissioned by the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund and the Kellogg Foundation.

The study found about 95 percent of Kansas farmers buy medical insurance -- but most of those get only minimal or catastrophic health coverage. That leaves them bearing the costs of most illnesses or accidents themselves.

Researchers based their conclusions on responses from 281 randomly selected members of the Kansas Farmers Union.

Ninety percent reported owing money to their doctors, with nearly that percentage owing money to hospitals. About two-thirds had outstanding prescription costs, while slightly over half had bills with dentists.

Total debts varied widely, with the median about $2,500.