Wisconsin farm families are getting the opportunity to learn more about the state's new health care cooperative program that the Doyle administration and the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives unveiled last week. On Tuesday, Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton met with producers in three southern Wisconsin counties to discuss the 'Farmers Health Cooperative of Wisconsin' program. And the WFC has scheduled informational workshops next month around the state to give more farmers the chance to sign up.
Through the FHCW, families and small businesses will be able to buy health insurance in large groups, increasing their buying power and stabilizing insurance rates.
"Hardworking farm families are struggling to afford health insurance," Lt. Governor Lawton said. "They're the backbone of our economy and our way of life. It's not acceptable that they should pay three times as much for basic health care as other workers."
WFC President Bill Oemichen says the cooperative is contracting with Aetna, one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, to underwrite the insurance for cooperative members. Aetna has a unique understanding of the agriculture industry thanks to its partnership with Agri-Services Agency, an insurance management company owned by Dairylea Cooperative that currently provides health and workers compensation insurance to 70,000 farmers and agribusinesses across the U.S. WFC credits ASA with bringing Aetna to the table in Wisconsin. ASA will manage the administrative responsibilities of the health insurance purchasing cooperative and considers this one of the cooperative's most valuable assets.
Meanwhile, the WFC is holding informational meetings at the following locations:
* March 12 - 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 8 p.m. at Wittenberg Village Hall, Wittenberg
* March 13 - 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 8 p.m. at Northcentral Tech College, Wausau
* March 14 - 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 8 p.m. at Frankfort Town Hall, Colby
* March 15 - 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 8 p.m. at the American Legion Hall, Neillsville
For more information about the Farmers Health Cooperative of Wisconsin, call (800) 539-9370 or visit www.farmershealthcooperative.com.