What is a Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement?
A common group of employers can use a MEWA to pool their contributions in a benefits plan for their employees. The employers make contributions into the plan based on the number of employees they have and the estimated costs associated with each employee.
It is a good way for smaller employers to get group health and other insurance benefits for their employees. By pooling their contributions together, smaller employers are better positioned to control cost and maintain the best benefit packages due to economies of scale, while still maintaining control.
MEWA’s are regulated by the state in which they are domiciled, and the U.S. Department of Labor.
The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the provisions of Title I of ERISA (29 U.S.C. §1001 et seq.).
Where is the Trust located?
The Trust maintains their office at Cypress Benefit Administrators in Clackamas, Oregon.
Why is the Trust only available in Oregon, Washington and Alaska?
In order to maintain its non-profit status, the DOL MEWA regulations require that they operate in no more than three states.
If it is sponsored by Unified, why isn’t the Trust in California.
The Trust was originally created by members of United Grocers in Portland, OR and grew from there. California does not currently accept applications for MEWAs.
What provider networks are available to participants in the Trust?
The Trust contracts with several networks to get members the greatest cost savings. CIGNA is our largest network and is nationwide. View our provider networks.
Is the Trust subject to the same regulatory oversight as a commercial insurance company?
Yes. The state of Oregon Insurance Division oversees the Trust operations and conducts periodic audits just as they do for other insurers. This information is then shared with the other states the Trust operates in.
How is the Trust different than other insurers?
Service is what our employers’ most value. Our administrative staff knows our members, personally answers their calls, and work tirelessly to make it easy to do business with. As a non-profit Trust, the Trustees focus is on maintain a safe and cost effective program for members.
An overriding goal of the Trustees is to provide quality group plans at competitive rates that don’t fluctuate dramatically from year to year. That’s one reason 95% of participating members renew their coverage every year.