Agribusinesses in Minnesota Find Stability
Health plan open enrollment season is here, and while some farmers might still be in the fields, other agriculture-related businesses are trying to get themselves and employees squared up for health care coverage in 2020. This year, the options are more abundant, and 40 Square Cooperative Solutions is raising its hand to say, ‘We are here for the Minnesota agricultural community.’
As an independent co-op, 40 Square offers farm families and agribusinesses the opportunity to own their health plan as a member of the first health care cooperative in the state. A member-governed health plan means health care dollars stay within the health plan instead of sending profits to an insurance company. To date, more than 1,000 Minnesotans have taken advantage of 40 Square’s health plan solution.
According to Minnesota state law, entities that provide direct services to production agriculture in Minnesota are eligible for membership in 40 Square. This includes small businesses that predominately derive their income from services provided to production agriculture in Minnesota. Businesses that qualify include anything from livestock hauler to crop consultants to grain elevators to seed dealers.
“Farmers make up the majority of our membership in 40 Square, but so many more businesses who provide services to agriculture could benefit from membership in the co-op and provide health plans to their business owners, employees, and their families,” said Char Vrieze, Executive Director of 40 Square.
Businesses looking for a change to their existing employee health plan can many times find a larger provider network with 40 Square plans, including out-of-state coverage, a range of deductibles to choose from and plans that can be coupled with a health savings account. Extra benefits that are part of a 40 Square membership include free telemedicine consultations and health care navigators that help individuals needing care find the best price for the medical treatment they need.
“When a business becomes a member of 40 Square and utilizes its self-funded health plan, they can find more stability. At the end of the year, any leftover healthcare dollars paid into the plan remain in the hands of the health plan members, resulting in more stable healthcare costs,” said Vrieze. “This helps both farms and agribusinesses balance their expenses and ultimately strengthen their bottom line from year to year.”
Health plan open enrollment runs until Dec. 31, 2019, for Jan. 1, 2020 coverage, but farms and businesses that provide direct support to production agriculture can join the co-op and enroll in the health plan offerings at any time throughout the year.
For more information about 40 Square Cooperative health plans, visit 40Square.coop or call 844-205-9579.
About 40 Square Cooperative Solutions
40 Square is an independent agricultural cooperative providing Minnesota farm families the control to manage their health care through member-owned health plans. The initiative was founded by Cooperative Network, the Minnesota and Wisconsin state trade association of cooperatives, United Farmers Cooperative (UFC), an agricultural supply cooperative based in Winthrop, Minnesota, with the support of Minnesota’s agricultural community.