Health provider moving up ShoreA health care coverage company celebrating its one-year anniversary has announced it is moving up the North Shore to help small businesses in Lake County.
By: Mike Creger, Lake County News Chronicle
A health care coverage company celebrating its one-year anniversary has announced it is moving up the North Shore to help small businesses in Lake County. HealthShare, which began offering coverage to employees in and around Duluth in November, is now expanding to cover all of St. Louis County along with Lake, Carlton, and Cook counties.
“There are so many small businesses up the Shore,” said HealthShare Executive Director Dan Svendsen this week. “We’re assuming there’s not a lot of health coverage.”
HealthShare began as an idea to help workers who fall into a gap. They make too much money to get state coverage such as Minnesota Care but not enough to go out and get private insurance.
HealthShare works with employers who have 50 or fewer workers with an hourly wage of $12.50 or less. Both the employer and employee pay about $60 per month for coverage. There are discounts for those joining wellness programs because HealthShare wants to focus on preventative care, Svendsen said.
The qualifications can change depending on each business, Svendsen said.
HealthShare is visiting the main health care provider it will use in Lake County, Lake View Memorial Hospital in Two Harbors. Representatives will also begin getting the word out to small businesses in the area this month.
About 60 people have signed up in the past year. Svendsen said many of them thought the plan was “too good to be true” and “there has to be a catch.” He said once they sat down and got the information, they realized it was a real option.
The coverage needs to come through an employer and HealthShare is urging workers to bring up the service to bosses.
HealthShare was initiated by a non-profit group, Generation Health Care Initiatives, and received input from people in health care, government and community organizations. The five-year plan uses nearly $1 million, with more than half coming from the federal government, about 20 percent from coverage payments and the rest from community resources. Svendsen says the goal is to rely on little subsidy in the future, with coverage costs paying the way. A large federal grant allowed the expansion.
HealthShare is unique in Minnesota. There are 13 similar programs in the country and its model is keeping pace, Svendsen said. He said there were some mistakes made in the first year, namely a lack of a marketing plan. “Now we’re on target,” he said. “We’re getting our name out there and adding to our sales staff.”
- For more on HealthShare, call (218) 336-5710 or visit www.healthsharemn.com
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