The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) is pleased to announce the formation of BenefitsMN, a new health benefits trust sponsored by MCN and authorized to work with insurance brokers, health insurance carriers, and other benefits services.

As an Association Health Plan, BenefitsMN combines the insurance purchasing power of nonprofits across Minnesota. By joining together, employers may reduce administrative costs through economies of scale, strengthen their bargaining position to obtain more favorable deals, and offer a wider array of insurance options to their employees.

The tremendous response from members to our recent survey confirmed that addressing health insurance costs and claims is of high interest to nonprofit employers.

  • We heard from 549 organizations
  • Two-thirds of respondents currently offer health insurance to eligible employees
  • 70 percent of respondents are highly interested in the health insurance benefit option that that MCN aims to establish (rated 8 or higher on a 1 – 10 scale of interest).
  • Of the 359 organizations that offer health insurance to eligible employees, the median size is 17 employees; almost a quarter of these nonprofits have more than 50 employees.
  • Of the 190 organizations that do not offer health insurance benefits, the median size is 2.5 employees; two-thirds of these nonprofits have five or fewer employees. (See below for more information from the survey.)

Our working timeline for launching the BenefitsMN plan is as follows:

  • Summer/Fall 2018: Gather health insurance experience data from nonprofit employers.
  • Fall 2018: Receive bids from prospective health insurance carriers.
  • Fall/Winter 2018: Share health plan details with nonprofits.
  • Winter 2018 through calendar year 2019: Enrollment open to eligible nonprofit employers.

We are eager to offer your organization a new benefits alternative as part of MCN’s goal to strengthen the nonprofit sector. Look for the next communication about the Association Health Plan the week after Labor Day. This will be an MCN email with a survey link (interest survey #2) for our consultant, Gallagher, to securely collect employer information.

We are also forming an advisory committee to help inform the best possible plan and customer service options. If you have any questions or comments about this new service or want to be part of the advisory committee, we’d like to hear from you. Please contact Margie Siegel, Association Health Plan team lead, at or (651) 478-4063.


Additional results from the April 2018 member survey, “Could your nonprofit’s health plan be better?”

The 549 survey respondents provided provided many thoughtful comments and questions about this potential benefit. Bearing in mind that the benefits and plan design are currently being developed, here are preliminary responses to a few of the questions that were submitted multiple times:

1. Our organization is in Greater MN – will this coverage be an option for us?

MCN is seeking to offer a benefit that works for a maximum number of nonprofits, and including all geographic regions of the state.

2. Will we be able to continue working with our current insurance broker?


3. Will other types of ancillary benefits be included in the offering?

Yes. We expect the options will include dental, vision, COBRA, short term disability and other benefits.

4. How will you ensure that our employee health data is secure?

This is a highly regulated field. We are committed to working with service providers and carriers who have successfully demonstrated their ability to comply with HIPAA and other state and federal regulations governing data security and privacy.

5. Our organization is a consortium or member support organization – other than for our employees, could this benefit be an option for individuals served by our organization?

As an association health plan (501[c][9] Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association), MCN member organizations can participate in BenefitsMN to cover their eligible employees only.

6. Our organization has fewer than five employees – will this coverage be an option for us?

The benefits and plan design are currently being developed, so the minimum number of employees isn’t known yet. MCN is seeking to offer benefits that work for a maximum number of member organizations, and finding a way to serve smaller organizations is one of several priorities.


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