Fairshare CSA Coalition Health Insurance Rebate – Why Don’t Illinois Health Insurers Participate?

April 2, 2012 at 11:46 am

Since it is that time of year when people consider investing in a CSA share, imagine a world in which, if you invest in a CSA share, you get a rebate from your health insurer anywhere from $100 to $200.  Sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? Well, it is happening in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Fairshare CSA Coalition has forged partnerships with Madison-area health insurers to create the CSA Health Insurance Rebate program. This innovative partnership is a joint effort between local health plans and FairShare CSA Coalition to encourage organic farming, keep local dollars in their communities, and build a healthier Wisconsin. The participating health plan partners support FairShare’s work and mission, which is to promote healthy lifestyles, and take a proactive approach to improving their health, environment, and community.

So my question is, if this is happening in Wisconsin, why not in Illinois? I attended a presentation on food deserts by Mari Gallagher recently.  Mari is one of the leaders in the Midwest who identifies and addresses problems in food deserts.  As part of that presentation, Mari presented fact after fact on how it has been statistically proven that access to healthier food reduces incidents of cancer, liver disease, the list goes on. The positive health outcomes, when access to healthier food is made available, is plentiful.

I am making the Local Beet community aware of this program, so that maybe we can be part of the conversation that brings programs like this to Illinois. We have great expos like the recent Good Food Festival, which brought so many people and resources together in the spirit of good, healthy food. The next step is making systemic changes, and a CSA Health Insurance rebate is one of the systemic changes that can be a win-win for insurers and participants. Who would object to a program that encourages people to reduce insurance claims by eating well through a CSA and that keeps dollars in the local community?

So, by raising this idea to your local politicians and business leaders, it will help create momentum for this program actually happening. All it takes is one insurance company to think this idea will set them apart from their competitors. This world exists in Wisconsin, so why can’t it exist in Illinois?