Unions Receive Vast Majority of Federal Health Care Waivers in Minnesota

Obamacare exemptions grow by more than 100,000 in one year

Minnesota labor unions are the state’s biggest recipient of federal health care waivers, according to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) records. The waivers release employers from complying with onerous provisions in the Affordable Care Act. Critics have previously accused the Obama Administration of using waivers to reward well-connected political allies, including local units of government and labor unions, while other employers are forced to operate under the law’s strict rules. The latest round of waivers from HHS provides additional fodder for critics.

Fifteen Minnesota-based labor unions with more than 90,000 combined workers were exempted from paying for a key requirement of the health care reform law. Thirty-four Minnesota local government units and schools with 8,100 employees and fifty-six businesses and non-profits with 18,800 employees were also exempted from increasing their coverage limits and costs as required under the healthcare mandate.  Altogether, 104 Minnesota unions, local governments, companies and non-profits with 117,200 employees were allowed to forgo the expensive federal mandate until 2014. The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota (FFM) reported that 24 Minnesota entities with about 14,000 enrollees took advantage of the exemption in the first round of federal waivers granted in 2011.

The law increases the minimal level of medical coverage to $1.25 million in 2012 and $2 million in 2013, leading to cost concerns among “mini-med” or limited benefit plans.  In a news release posted online, HHS officials acknowledge that what the Affordable Care Act was supposed to give—affordable  coverage—it takes away in this case.

“Requiring mini-med plans to comply with the new rules could cause mini-med premiums to increase significantly, forcing employers to drop coverage and leaving some workers without even the minimal insurance coverage they have today,” according to the release.

Among the Minnesota organizations benefiting most significantly from the federal exemption were the Carpenters and Joiners Welfare Fund (21,364 enrollees), City of Bloomington (750 enrollees),  Robbinsdale Area Schools (2,108 enrollees) and Regis Corporation (3,617 enrollees).

              Tips or comments?  Contact Tom Steward at 612-354-2192.

Carpenters and Joiners Welfare Fund/ Bloomington, MN 21,364
Electrical Workers Health and Welfare Fund/Duluth, MN 1,994
Local 17 Hospitality Benefit Fund/Bloomington, MN 881
Hotel, Restaurant & Bar Employees Health and Welfare Fund/Duluth, MN 98
Midwest Teamsters HR/Minneapolis, MN 1,315
Minneapolis Retail Meat Cutters and Food Handlers Health & Welfare Fund/Bloomington, MN 10,720
Minnesota Cement Masons Health & Welfare Fund/Minneapolis, MN 2,000
Minnesota Laborers Health and Welfare Fund/Mendota Heights, MN 20,554
Minnesota and North Dakota Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers/Minneapolis, MN 4,450
Minnesota Teamsters Construction Division/Minneapolis, MN 1,248
Northern Minnesota-Wisconsin Area Retail Food Health & Welfare Fund/Duluth, MN 3,100
Plasterers & Cabinet Makers Health Fund/Minneapolis, MN 10,033
Roofers Local No. 96 Health & Welfare Fund/Bloomington, MN 2,838
Sheet Metal #10 Benefit Fund/Maplewood, MN 6,223
United Food and Commercial Workers Local #789 and St. Paul Food Employers Health Care Plan/Bloomington, MN 3,427
TOTAL 90,245


Becker County VEBA/Detroit Lakes, MN 85
Benton County/Foley, MN 200
Brainerd Public Schools/Brainerd, MN 42
Brooklyn Center Schools #286/Brooklyn Center, MN 90
Carlton County/Carlton, MN 273
City of Bloomington VEBA Health Savings Plan 750
City of Brooklyn Park 372
City of Burnsville 290
City of Cloquet 79
City of Cottage Grove 90
City of Eagan 120
City of Eden Prairie 181
City of Inver Grove Heights 130
City of Lakeville 124
City of Maplewood 175
City of Roseville 210
City of Roseville/Minnesota State Retirement System Post-Employment Health Care Savings Plan 280
City of St. Louis Park 127
City of Shakopee Post-Employment Health Care Savings Account Plan 153
City of Shoreview 79
Cloquet Area Fire Department /Cloquet, MN 22
Freshwater Education District/Staples, MN 104
Fridley Public Schools Health Savings Plan/Fridley, MN 79
Great River Regional Library/St. Cloud, MN 15
Hopkins ISD 270/Hopkins, MN 1,343
Independent School District 196/Rosemount, MN 66
McGregor Schools ISD #4/McGregor, MN 38
Mounds View Public Schools/Mounds View, MN 76
Nicollet County/St. Peter, MN 30
Robbinsdale Area Schools/New Hope, MN 2,108
Rockford Public Schools/Minneapolis, MN 124
St. Anthony/New Brighton Schools/Minneapolis, MN 164
South Washington County Schools/Cottage Grove, MN 21
SouthWest Transit/Eden Prairie, MN 19
Totino Grace High School/Fridley, MN 94
TOTAL (34) 8,153

AccessAbility Inc./Minneapolis, MN 25
Anderson Corporation 2,720
Anoka Hennepin Credit Union/Coon Rapids, MN 15
Bang Printing/Brainerd, MN 125
Bowman Sheet Metal Heating & Air-conditioning/Buffalo, MN 4
Building Material Supply, Inc./Golden Valley, MN 2
CDS Administrative Services LLC/Pennock, MN 8
Carlson Restaurants/Minnetonka, MN 3,381
Crystal Cabinet Works Inc./Minneapolis, MN 353
D & D Ag Supply and Construction Inc./Pennock, MN 8
Data Listing Services / dba/ The connection/Burnsville, MN 398
Digi International/Minnetonka, MN 402
Diversified Industries, Inc./Brooklyn Center, MN 21
Doorstep Healthcare Services/St. Louis Park,MN 9
Dungarvin Group Inc./St. Paul, MN 118
Engineered Network Systems/Burnsville, MN 28
FIDUCIA /Brainerd, MN 2
General Parts, LLC /Bloomington, MN 150
Greater Metropolitan Hotel/Bloomington, MN 1,200
Haldeman-Homme/Minneapolis, MN 38
Hannon Security Services, Inc./St. Paul, MN 64
Health Care Compliance/Minneapolis, MN 1
Hiawatha Medical, Inc. /Red Wing, MN 17
Ideacom Mid-America, Inc./St. Paul, MN 68
Innworks, Inc./Roseville, MN 7
LTX, Inc./Rochester, MN 153
League of Minnesota Cities/Minneapolis, MN 70
Luther Automotive Group HRA/St. Louis Park, MN 660
M.A. Mortenson/Minneapolis, MN 332
Madelia Community Hospital/Madelia, MN 38
Mandt Reiss & Associates PLLC/Brainerd, MN 4
Mankato Rehabilitation Center, Inc./Mankato, MN 66
Metropolitan Cardiology/Coon Rapids, MN 95
Midwest Asphalt Corporation/Hopkins, MN 27
Minnesota Gastroenterology/St. Paul, MN 355
Modern Aero, Inc/Eden Prairie, MN 24
Nelson Numeric, Inc./Bloomington, MN 36
New River Medical Center/Monticello, MN 313
North States Industries Inc/Blaine, MN 92
Optometric Eye Care Center/Fridley,MN 20
Owakihi Inc./West St. Paul, MN 35
Pearson Candy Company/St. Paul, MN 204
Perbix Machine Company/Golden Valley, MN 44
Physical Distribution Services, Inc. (PDSI)/Minneapolis, MN 3,018
Prescott Super 8 Motel, Ltd./Roseville, MN 7
QA1 Precision Products, Inc./Lakeville, MN 15
Printing Enterprises, Inc./New Brighton, MN 15
Regis Corporation/Minneapolis, MN 3,617
Ron Clark Construction  Health Reimbursement Arrangement /Edina, MN 18
Sieben Polk Law Firm/Hastings, MN 3
Sierra Corporation-TK Products/Minnetonka, MN 47
Southview Acres/St Paul, MN 66
Tapemark Company/St. Paul, MN 144
Twin City Die Casting/Minneapolis, MN 148
Winsor Learning/St. Paul, MN 8
TOTAL (55) 18,838

TOTAL (104) 117,236



Stay In the Loop

Stay Up To Date

Sign up today for our
e-update to find out what is
going on in your state and
local government.

FFM Tipline

We will do our best to uncover the wasteful spending you report.