40 Square Cooperative Solutions, an independent agricultural health plan cooperative in Minnesota, is one-week away from its final deadline of Wed., Dec. 19 for January 1, 2019 health insurance coverage. This includes renewals or changes to plan benefits for existing members. All eligible farmers and agribusinesses are encouraged to finalize any applications they may have started and get their health plan solidified for the coming year
“We are in the final stretch of the health plan open enrollment period, and with the late harvest many farmers are still in the process of catching up and getting their health insurance decisions made for 2019,” said Char Vrieze, Executive Director of 40 Square. “We encourage anyone who has questions about their health plan or the enrollment process to contact our office directly or work with a 40 Square agent in your local area.”
“It’s been an exciting first year and 40 Square has had a lot of new interest in our member-owned health plan cooperative this fall, but time is of the essence to enroll for plan year 2019,” said Vrieze.
Health Plan Details
In 2019 40 Square has seven health plans available, including health savings account (HSA) eligible plans. At the request of members, a new high deductible plan has been added that will have the lowest monthly premium compared to other 40 Square plans, giving the opportunity to save on monthly expenses. Two other 40 Square plans will also have individual and family out-of-pocket limits reduced for 2019.
Similar to traditional individual health insurance, 40 Square’s self-funded plans have an annual deductible, coinsurance and copays. The amount of coverage received depends on the plan selected. Additional benefits being offered include vision, dental and life. Other products to enhance the health plan include hearing benefits, free telemedicine doctor visits, care navigators that help explain tests, claims or billing, and a partnership with TASC’s AgriPlan/BizPlan products, which offers an option for the ability to declare medical expenses as a business expense on taxes.
To become a member of 40 Square, farm families and agribusinesses must meet certain criteria. They must:
● Actively work in production agriculture in Minnesota
● File either Form 1065 or Schedule F with their income tax return or provide direct services to production agriculture in Minnesota. This includes farm corporations and businesses who predominantly receive their income from providing their services to production agriculture
● Purchase Voting Stock in an amount of $100 (one-time, only for the farm/business/employer)
● Purchase Common Stock of $1,000 over the first year (one-time, only for the farm/business/employer)
● Have a minimum of one “Common Law” employee. (In general, someone who you provide a W-2, does not have to be a full-time employee; for example, it may be a spouse who does the farm books.)
Membership can be extended to include farm corporations as well as agricultural-related businesses who receive at least 70 percent their income from providing services to production agriculture. All members must commit to a three-year term with a risk of forfeiting a portion of their investment if they leave the co-op before their term has expired.
Structure of Cooperative and Health Plan
The 40 Square health plan co-op is for resident farmers and agribusinesses actively participating in production agriculture in the state of Minnesota. The organization is governed by a board of directors, elected by its members/patrons. A minimum of fifty-one percent of governance is members and patrons, and up to 49 percent is investment partners.
Participant members pay into the co-op to self-fund the health plan. Those premium dollars are then placed into a Trust, only to be used for health plan expenses. All health plan participants have 100 percent ownership interest in the Trust.
Those needing more details before the open enrollment deadline of Dec. 19 should contact their local health insurance agent or contact 40 Square directly at info@40square or 844-205-9579.