ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Open enrollment is underway for farm families and the agricultural community looking for a health plan alternative to the state’s individual market and MNsure health insurance exchange.
40 Square Cooperative Solutions is offering health plans tailored to the agricultural community. The independent health care cooperative is owned and governed by its members meaning they have a larger say in their health plans and choices. The independent health care cooperative is owned and governed by its members meaning they have a larger say in their health plans and choices.
In 2017, Minnesota lawmakers cleared the way to allow the creation of co-op health plans as an alternative to the state’s individual market. The individual market insures self-employed people under age 65, including many farmers.
“In seven counties in the state of Minnesota, there were no options at all for individual markets on the exchange, so seven counties had nothing to choose from and those were in rural areas, said Charlene Vrieze, executive director or 40 Square Cooperative Solutions. “A growing concern, impediment to continuing and also passing the farm down to the next generation was access to insurance.”
While average premiums are declining next year for health plans sold through MNsure, the executive director says 40 Square rates will increase by about ten percent for 2019, due in part to medical trend and because they’re launching an additional health plan offering with a higher deductible. However, she still expects a growth in participants.
40 Square Co-Op currently insures about 1,100 people statewide.
Open enrollment ends on December 19th.