40 Square Cooperative Solutions, an independent Minnesota agricultural health plan co-op providing farm families and agribusinesses access to self-funded health insurance options, is ramping up for its second year of open enrollment beginning November 1, 2018 and running through December 19, 2018.
Char Vrieze, Executive Director of 40 Square, is thrilled with last year ’s enrollment outcome which yielded more than 1,000 individuals, with the initial goal of 500. But she credits the strength of Minnesota’s cooperatives to 40 Square’s success. Minnesota is the leading cooperative state in the nation with more than 600 co-ops headquartered here – many of which are engaged in production agriculture. “Like other co-ops that have led the way for strong agriculture communities, 40 Square is helping to preserve the proud traditions of farming to generations to come,” said Vrieze.
Structure of Cooperative and Health Plan
The 40 Square co-op is governed by a board of directors, elected by its members/patrons. Fifty-one percent of governance is members and patrons, 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. The Trust is governed by a separate board of directors comprised of members and plan participants. All health plan participants have 100 percent ownership interest in the Trust.
Health Plan Details
40 Square currently offers six health plans to choose from, including health savings account (HSA) eligible plans. 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 you receive 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 Agriplan, which offers 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 predominately 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 all or a portion of their investment if they leave the co-op before their term has expired.
Interested in joining more than 1,000 Minnesotans who call 40 Square their health plan co-op?
Visit www.40Square.coop to learn more about its health plans, doctor network and more, or contact info@40square or (844) 205-9579.