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Self-insured health plan expanded to 28,000 farmers in Nebraska who are members of cooperatives.
November 1, 2018
Land O'Lakes Inc. is the first organization to sponsor a self-insured, multi-state group health plan under new Association Health Plans (AHP) regulations. Earlier this summer, President Donald Trump looked to expand affordable health coverage options for America’s small businesses and their employees and made changes to AHP that provide more flexibility and choices to small businesses.
This self-insured arrangement offers coverage to farmers of participating co-ops and individual dairy farmers within the Land O'Lakes network in Minnesota and now Nebraska.
In 2017, a Minnesota-specific statute afforded Land O'Lakes the opportunity to develop a group health plan for individual farmers within its network. In 2018, through a partnership with Gravie, a Minneapolis, Minn.-based benefits marketplace, this pilot group health plan was offered to 12 Minnesota-based Land O'Lakes co-ops and to its dairy farmers. In 2019, this plan is expanding to nearly 15,000 additional eligible farmers in Minnesota and 28,000 farmers in Nebraska who are members of cooperatives that opt in to participate and offer coverage.
Farmers participating in the Land O'Lakes Cooperative Farmer Member Health Plan can choose from several Affordable Care Act (ACA)-compliant plans – all of which cover the 10 essential health benefits (EHBs), have broad network coverage and are more affordable than plans offered in the current individual market. As ACA and Employee Retirement Income Security Act-compliant plans, those with pre-existing conditions are not barred from participation, nor will premiums be developed based on a particular participant's health condition.
"For years, Land O'Lakes has recognized the need for affordable, comprehensive health care options for our producers and farmers. Now, we have an option for those in Minnesota and Nebraska," Pamela Grove, Land O'Lakes senior director of benefits, said.
"We know that our co-op members see the importance of this offering, given that so many have opted to participate and provide access to these benefit plans for their member farmers. We look forward to partnering with the Nebraska Insurance Department and appreciate their work in helping us provide affordable and comprehensive health coverage to Nebraska farmers. We hope to work closely with other state regulators as we look to expand," Grove added.
This is the second health plan sponsored by Land O'Lakes to specifically offer a health care solution to those in the its system. In 2011, the cooperative launched a fully insured plan to certain agricultural member co-ops wishing to offer coverage to their employees. This plan now covers nearly 12,000 individuals in 13 states. The company intends to continue to grow this new solution for its member-producers and farmers within its cooperative system.
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