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Health Status, Use of Medical Services and Health Insurance Coverage: A Comparison Between Farmers, Other Self-Employed, and WageSalary Workers in Wisconsin
Research Reports No. 12, April 2002
by Julie Whitaker and Doris Slesinger

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Our country faces a crisis in its healthcare system. Costs for services are rising and healthcare consumers are shouldering a considerable share of the increases. As a result, more are either uninsured or pay more in health insurance premiums (Government Accounting Office, 1997; Kronick and Gilmer, 1999; Carrasquillo et al., 1999). According to a national survey, some groups, such as those that live in rural areas, self-employed farmers, artisans, employees of small businesses, and part-time workers, have higher proportions of uninsured than the rest of the population (Patton, Nycz, and Schmelzer, 1990). Previous studies of Wisconsin farm households found that compared with statewide households, farmers were slightly less likely to have health insurance. Furthermore, the insurance plans they had covered fewer services, were more expensive, and had higher deductibles (Kralewski, Liu, and Shapiro, 1992; Slesinger and Monson, 1994). Wisconsin has one of the country’s lowest rates of uninsured, between 7 and 10 percent (Department of Health and Family Services, 2001; www.statehealthfacts.kff.org),1 compared with the national average of approximately 16 percent (www.statehealthfacts.kff.org).

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