What do Wisconsin farmers and New York freelancers have in common?
Both groups have figured out that you can band together for lower-cost health insurance. Because of a new plan funded with seed money from the federal government, Wisconsin's farmers for the first time have access to group-rate health insurance. From where we stand, the model (called "unique" by an Aetna spokesperson) looks an awful lot like what happens at Freelancers Union: disparate workers who don't have access to employer-sponsored insurance form a group, enabling them to negotiate a better rate with a carrier. (It's the new "collective bargaining.") This, we believe, is the future of health insurance in the U.S. As fewer people have access to employer-based coverage, they'll need intermediary organizations to deliver insurance. (We found this news via the always informative, always dyspeptic InsureBlog.)