Unions Receive Vast Majority of Federal Health Care Waivers in Minnesota

Written by Tom Steward on .

union rally jonMinnesota 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 releaseposted 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).


Carpenters and Joiners Welfare Fund/ Bloomington, MN21,364
Electrical Workers Health and Welfare Fund/Duluth, MN1,994
Local 17 Hospitality Benefit Fund/Bloomington, MN881
Hotel, Restaurant & Bar Employees Health and Welfare Fund/Duluth, MN98
Midwest Teamsters HR/Minneapolis, MN1,315
Minneapolis Retail Meat Cutters and Food Handlers Health & Welfare Fund/Bloomington, MN10,720
Minnesota Cement Masons Health & Welfare Fund/Minneapolis, MN2,000
Minnesota Laborers Health and Welfare Fund/Mendota Heights, MN20,554
Minnesota and North Dakota Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers/Minneapolis, MN4,450
Minnesota Teamsters Construction Division/Minneapolis, MN1,248
Northern Minnesota-Wisconsin Area Retail Food Health & Welfare Fund/Duluth, MN3,100
Plasterers & Cabinet Makers Health Fund/Minneapolis, MN10,033
Roofers Local No. 96 Health & Welfare Fund/Bloomington, MN2,838
Sheet Metal #10 Benefit Fund/Maplewood, MN6,223
United Food and Commercial Workers Local #789 and St. Paul Food Employers Health Care Plan/Bloomington, MN3,427


Becker County VEBA/Detroit Lakes, MN85
Benton County/Foley, MN200
Brainerd Public Schools/Brainerd, MN42
Brooklyn Center Schools #286/Brooklyn Center, MN90
Carlton County/Carlton, MN273
City of Bloomington VEBA Health Savings Plan750
City of Brooklyn Park372
City of Burnsville290
City of Cloquet79
City of Cottage Grove90
City of Eagan120
City of Eden Prairie181
City of Inver Grove Heights130
City of Lakeville124
City of Maplewood175
City of Roseville210
City of Roseville/Minnesota State Retirement System Post-Employment Health Care Savings Plan280
City of St. Louis Park127
City of Shakopee Post-Employment Health Care Savings Account Plan153
City of Shoreview79
Cloquet Area Fire Department /Cloquet, MN22
Freshwater Education District/Staples, MN104
Fridley Public Schools Health Savings Plan/Fridley, MN79
Great River Regional Library/St. Cloud, MN15
Hopkins ISD 270/Hopkins, MN1,343
Independent School District 196/Rosemount, MN66
McGregor Schools ISD #4/McGregor, MN38
Mounds View Public Schools/Mounds View, MN76
Nicollet County/St. Peter, MN30
Robbinsdale Area Schools/New Hope, MN2,108
Rockford Public Schools/Minneapolis, MN124
St. Anthony/New Brighton Schools/Minneapolis, MN164
South Washington County Schools/Cottage Grove, MN21
SouthWest Transit/Eden Prairie, MN19
Totino Grace High School/Fridley, MN94
TOTAL (34)8,153

AccessAbility Inc./Minneapolis, MN25
Anderson Corporation2,720
Anoka Hennepin Credit Union/Coon Rapids, MN15
Bang Printing/Brainerd, MN125
Bowman Sheet Metal Heating & Air-conditioning/Buffalo, MN4
Building Material Supply, Inc./Golden Valley, MN2
CDS Administrative Services LLC/Pennock, MN8
Carlson Restaurants/Minnetonka, MN3,381
Crystal Cabinet Works Inc./Minneapolis, MN353
D & D Ag Supply and Construction Inc./Pennock, MN8
Data Listing Services / dba/ The connection/Burnsville, MN398
Digi International/Minnetonka, MN402
Diversified Industries, Inc./Brooklyn Center, MN21
Doorstep Healthcare Services/St. Louis Park,MN9
Dungarvin Group Inc./St. Paul, MN118
Engineered Network Systems/Burnsville, MN28
FIDUCIA /Brainerd, MN2
General Parts, LLC /Bloomington, MN150
Greater Metropolitan Hotel/Bloomington, MN1,200
Haldeman-Homme/Minneapolis, MN38
Hannon Security Services, Inc./St. Paul, MN64
Health Care Compliance/Minneapolis, MN1
Hiawatha Medical, Inc. /Red Wing, MN17
Ideacom Mid-America, Inc./St. Paul, MN68
Innworks, Inc./Roseville, MN7
LTX, Inc./Rochester, MN153
League of Minnesota Cities/Minneapolis, MN70
Luther Automotive Group HRA/St. Louis Park, MN660
M.A. Mortenson/Minneapolis, MN332
Madelia Community Hospital/Madelia, MN38
Mandt Reiss & Associates PLLC/Brainerd, MN4
Mankato Rehabilitation Center, Inc./Mankato, MN66
Metropolitan Cardiology/Coon Rapids, MN95
Midwest Asphalt Corporation/Hopkins, MN27
Minnesota Gastroenterology/St. Paul, MN355
Modern Aero, Inc/Eden Prairie, MN24
Nelson Numeric, Inc./Bloomington, MN36
New River Medical Center/Monticello, MN313
North States Industries Inc/Blaine, MN92
Optometric Eye Care Center/Fridley,MN20
Owakihi Inc./West St. Paul, MN35
Pearson Candy Company/St. Paul, MN204
Perbix Machine Company/Golden Valley, MN44
Physical Distribution Services, Inc. (PDSI)/Minneapolis, MN3,018
Prescott Super 8 Motel, Ltd./Roseville, MN7
QA1 Precision Products, Inc./Lakeville, MN15
Printing Enterprises, Inc./New Brighton, MN15
Regis Corporation/Minneapolis, MN3,617
Ron Clark Construction  Health Reimbursement Arrangement /Edina, MN18
Sieben Polk Law Firm/Hastings, MN3
Sierra Corporation-TK Products/Minnetonka, MN47
Southview Acres/St Paul, MN66
Tapemark Company/St. Paul, MN144
Twin City Die Casting/Minneapolis, MN148
Winsor Learning/St. Paul, MN8
TOTAL (55)18,838
TOTAL (104)117,236


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The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota is an independent, non-profit educational and research organization that actively advocates the principles of individual freedom, personal responsibility, economic freedom, and limited government. 

By focusing on some of the most difficult public policy issues facing Minnesota, we seek to foster greater understanding of the principles of a free society among leaders in government, the media, and the citizenry.