This year, farmers and production agricultural businesses have new options for health plan coverage. 40 Square Cooperative Solutions (40 Square), Minnesota’s newest co-op for farmers, is offering self-funded health plan choices that strive for greater stability than the individual marketplace and ownership for the members it serves.
For more than 15 years, 40 Square has been a joint effort of two long-standing cooperative partners: Cooperative Network, the cooperative trade association for Minnesota and Wisconsin cooperative businesses and United Farmers Cooperative (UFC), a farm supply cooperative based in Winthrop, Minnesota. Several other organizations and agencies have supported the effort throughout the journey as well.
40 Square is based upon Cooperative Network’s successful efforts to create and establish the Farmers’ Health Cooperative of Wisconsin (FHCW), currently in its ninth year of operation. While 40 Square differs in structure from FHCW, both seek to offer their members health care plans, with the 40 Square Plan offering tools to help members make educated choices when seeking health services.
To become a member of 40 Square, individuals must be a Minnesota farmer in production agriculture with one “Common Law” employee, file Form 1065 or Schedule F with their income tax returns or have a business that directly supports production agriculture. Membership then grants access to the health plans, which were designed based on survey feedback from what farmers were seeking from their health care organization.
The health plans are self-funded and allows members to own and adjust the structure and features of their plans, as a group. All premium dollars remain in a trust, and if not used, the farmer-controlled board decides, based on feedback from the member-owners, on how those unused funds should be appropriated.
Open enrollment season ends December 15, 2017, and interested farm families can run a quote online at 40Square.coop or work with a local insurance agent to get enrolled.
To find out more information about 40 Square health plans or find an agent-partner in your area, visit 40Square.coop or call 1-844-205-9579.