December 13, 2022
The enrollment period for 40 Square Cooperative Solutions, Minnesota’s only agricultural co-op offering self-funded health care plans, is open through Dec. 31.
This is 40 Square’s sixth year of open enrollment.
“We’re excited to offer a variety of comprehensive self-funded health plans that give Minnesota’s agriculture community more options for their health care,” says executive director Amanda Beavens, who joined the organization in June. “This open enrollment season, we’re focused on growing — and encourage those in our state’s ag community to take a closer look at our health plans to see if we’re the right fit for them.”
40 Square, which moved its headquarters to Mankato in 2022, has been encouraged by the enrollment outcome over the organization’s first five years, which covers nearly 1,000 individuals. Minnesota supports more than 600 co-ops, many of which are engaged in production agriculture.
“The fact that 40 Square is an agricultural co-op is really important,” says Cole Trebesch, 40 Square chair. “Most farmers belong to multiple ag co-ops. They’re a great thing, and 40 Square gives farmers some control over the various health plans we offer.”
Co-op, health plan structure
The 40 Square co-op sponsors the health plan and is governed by a board of directors elected by members and patrons. Fifty-one percent of governance is members and patrons; the other 49% is represented by cooperative sponsors.
40 Square is not an insurance company. Participant members pay into the co-op to self-fund the health plan. Those funds are then placed into a trust, only to be used for health plan expenses. The trust is a separate board governed by the five elected plan members/ However, all health plan participants retain 100% ownership interest in the trust. If resources are not spent during any given health plan year, the money remains in the trust for reserves and can help stabilize health plan fee increases for the following plan year.
Details of health plans
40 Square offers participants a variety of health plans to choose from, including plans eligible for health savings accounts (HSA). Similar to traditional health insurance, 40 Square’s self-funded plans have an annual deductible, coinsurance and copays that members are responsible for. The amount of coverage received depends on the plan selected. Additional optional benefits include vision, dental and life. Other non-insurance products include hearing benefits; free telemedicine doctor visits; care navigators that help explain tests, claims or billing; and cost comparisons for procedures. In addition, the co-op offers AgriPlan and BizPlan, which helps farmers and agribusinesses declare medical expenses as a business expense on taxes.
Since 2021, 40 Square has partnered with Aetna as its health plan administrator. The transition to Aetna has provided 40 Square access to Aetna’s statewide and national network, along with customer service and telemedicine services through Teladoc.
To become a member of 40 Square, farmers, agribusinesses and ag trade associations must meet certain criteria.
For more information, contact Amanda Beavens at 507-353-1562 or email her at [email protected].
Source: 40 Square
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