Associated Logging Contractors-Idaho Reveals Insurance Plan

Responding to concerns from its members, officials with Associated Logging Contractors-Idaho presented the organization’s medical insurance plan with special discounts and coverages designed for ALC-Idaho members, says ALC-Idaho Executive Director Shawn Keough.

The plan is open to ALC members and is tailored for small businesses like logging and log truck driving. For example, groups as small as two are eligible, as long as both work at least 20 hours a week in the business. Employers can offer one to three different plans.

“The prices are competitive and the coverage is great,” Keough says. “The more people we get enrolled, the stronger the plan will be.”

Since she began working with ALC-Idaho in 2000, obtaining affordable health insurance has always been an issue for association members, Keough says. The group tried a self-funded plan 40 years ago but wasn’t able to sustain it. She adds that ALC-Idaho members have always wanted some sort of health plan but their voices have become louder more recently as costs have risen. The association was able to put the plan together by working with its long-time affiliated insurance company Associated Insurance Service, which in turn has coordinated with PacificSource Health Plans.

Emily Koleno, director of operations for Associated Insurance, notes that the ALC-Idaho board has been tremendously supportive of the formal process as the plan was developed over roughly 16 months. She adds that officials with the Idaho Dept. of Insurance were very responsive and ALC-Idaho’s experienced staff were a big help. PacificSource also has some of its business roots in the forest products industry and their people were excited about helping make the plan work, she says.

The issue of health insurance being offered—or not—by logging contractors is increasingly being raised as a big obstacle to both recruiting employees and retaining the ones already on the payroll.

In addition to Idaho several other groups are also working on health plans. North Carolina Forestry Assn. (NCFA) is putting together a health care plan that the group hopes to begin offering the first of 2024, pending a board vote in September.

Other logging groups are taking a closer look: An item in the Timber Bulletin newsletter from the Minnesota Timber Producers Assn. (TPA) noted that the group’s annual meeting included presentations on the steps required to put together a plan. TPA Executive Vice President Ray Higgins reports that the association has begun working with Choice Plans to begin research about a potential plan.

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