Making the Move to FBN Health: A Q & A with Farmer J.P. Rhea
A fifth-generation farmer, J.P. Rhea is a large-scale organic producer just north of Omaha, Neb. His operation farms 10,000 acres of predominantly organic alfalfa, corn, beans and small grains. They also have a cattle feedlot and an ingredient manufacturing facility.
Last winter, he signed his operation - which includes 35 employees - up for coverage through FBN Health. We asked J.P. a few questions about making that decision and what his experience has been so far.
Q: What was the major driver that moved you toward FBN Health?
Frankly, there aren’t a lot of good healthcare coverage options out there for small businesses, and it can be tough to navigate the marketplace. The whole industry feels stacked against you, almost in a “take it or leave it” way. I appreciated how FBN came in with a different way to look at it and provided up with some alternative options.
In Year One, we’ve seen a savings of more than $50,000.
Q: What do savings like that mean for an operation like yours?
The biggest thing is that we can continue to provide health coverage to our employees.
We’ve seen these costs increase over and over, and the price just gets harder and harder to justify. This step back in cost enables us to continue taking care of our team in the way we want to.
We’re a family business, so we want to take care of our employees and their families. They are loyal to us, and being loyal to them is the right thing for us to do.
From the business side, we are fairly close to the Omaha metropolitan area, which means we compete with manufacturing businesses for labor. Health coverage is pretty standard in those jobs, so for us to compete for labor, we need to provide what the market encourages.
Q: How long have you been with FBN?
We first signed up with FBN four or five years ago, and we were still farming some conventional acres. We started out mainly interested in price shopping and having some price transparency on chemicals. Since then, however, we’ve really started to take advantage of more things FBN has to offer.
At every step, we’ve seen really good value. We’ve bought chem, we’ve purchased organic ingredients and seed corn - and now our health coverage and some of our crop insurance are with FBN as well. At every turn, FBN has offered great value or extraordinary service, and health is no different.
We really appreciate what FBN is doing to help farmers and give them better choices and more options. Everything might not work for every farmer, and that’s ok. Across the offerings, we’ve been impressed with how FBN has evolved, and we are excited to continue to work with them in the future.
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