Jodi Calkins’ health insurance plan just didn’t add up. Different policies and payment schedules, coupled with rising premium costs, left her with more questions than answers.
Jodi and her husband, Ryan, milk 60 cows on their farm near Rome, Pa., where they also grow corn and hay. Jodi and Ryan, who come from generations of dairy farmers, started their own dairy in 2012, which includes a mixture of Holstein and Jersey cows.
In addition to running the dairy, their busy farming schedule also includes raising two young children, ages nine and five.
While they have been able to balance a high-quality business and a busy family life, Jodi and Ryan found the assortment of insurance policies unnecessary and cumbersome. During a visit last year with their DFA field representative, Connie Kuhlman, Jodi mentioned the cost of their current plan and the need to streamline the process.
“They’re a young family who are focused on the right things – raising their children and caring for their animals,” Kuhlman says.
Field representatives encounter a number of different challenges on a daily basis that sometimes range from herd health management to suggestions about milking practices, among other issues.
“One of my primary roles is to help producers connect the dots when they’re trying to identify the answer to a problem,” says Kuhlman.
In this case, the Calkins family needed assistance with health insurance plans. Kuhlman knew where to look for help.
“I try to listen to a producer’s need and be a resource when they need help,” says Kuhlman.
Kuhlman contacted Kathy Coon at DFA Insurance, who promptly provided the Calkins with a possible solution to their health insurance conundrum. In addition to providing the couple with a coverage plan that incorporated the family into one policy, Coon also identified a plan that included monthly premiums savings.
Jodi finds that working with DFA Insurance is straight-forward and the staff is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to insurance programs that work for dairy producers.
“Dairy farming can sometimes be complicated, so it’s nice when there’s a service like DFA Insurance to simplify the process,” she says.
Focused on farming
Working for dairy farmers is nothing new for Coon, who has been with DFA Insurance for more than 15 years and currently serves as the supervisor for the sales and service center.
It’s not just a job for Coon; dairy is woven throughout the fabric of her life. Her father spent nearly 60 years hauling milk for many producers throughout northeast Pennsylvania.
Working directly with producers is one reason Coon relishes the opportunity to work in the sales and service center.
“We get to work with dairy farmers on a daily basis, and try to provide them with solutions that meet their insurance needs,” she says.
During any given day, the service team could be assisting producers with their existing coverage plan or identifying new coverage options during open enrollment.
Navigating health insurance options
During open enrollment, held annually between November and January, DFA Insurance works with a variety of carrier partners that offer competitive rates across the country for producers.
“Our plans are built around the needs of dairy producers,” says Paul Kulpa, vice president for market and product development at DFA Insurance.
In addition to offering a portfolio of insurance coverage plans for individuals and groups, both small and large, DFA Insurance is also working with producers to ensure they’re aware of how new mandates under the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, impact some in the industry.
Starting January 1, 2016, producers that employ 50 or more individuals are now required to provide adequate and affordable health insurance plans to employees, or pay a penalty.
“We have a number of resources, and knowledgeable staff, prepared to assist producers on how to navigate these new rules and regulations,” Kulpa says.
Recently, DFA Insurance hosted a producer workshop in Colorado as well as several webinars to inform members of the impending health care compliance regulations. Additionally, staff at DFA Insurance have visited directly with a number of impacted producers on possible coverage options for their employees.
There are several outlets for producers needing access to more information, including myDFA and DFA Insurance’s website at www.dfa-insurance.com.