Catastrophe Avoided: Health Insurance Protects Farm After Accident


Sonja Begemann, Drovers

November 6, 2019


As a polar vortex tore through the Midwest and Northern Plains January 30, 2018, frigid temperatures were among the least of 25-year-old Tanner Overby’s mind. It all happened in what felt like double time, while the time it took for him to be rescued felt like slow motion.


“I was greasing the mixer wagon to feed cows when the glove on my right hand pulled my arm in,” the Binford, North Dakota crop and cattle producer says. “I, without thinking, instinctively used my left arm to try to catch it. My arms stopped the mixer wagon, which is what made my dad realize there was something wrong when the belt started to squeal.”


In a split second, Overby’s world was forever changed.


For the next month he, and his then-girlfriend, lived in a St. Paul, Minn. hospital where he was in and out of surgery almost every other day. All told, he lost five fingers, his pinkie and thumb on his left hand and his pointer, middle and ring finger on the right hand. He was lucky he didn’t lose his entire left arm because of lost tissue and infection.


“His final surgery, No. 12, was February 22, 2019,” says Megan Ternquist, Overby’s fiancé. “The hardest part was when we came home and started recovery and therapy—it was a doctor’s appointment almost every other day. The nearest doctor that could provide the care he needed was 90 miles away.”


This whole experience wasn’t cheap either, the helicopter ride alone cost $38,000 and his running total for medical bills is $640,000.


Health insurance can save the farm ...