I have received a few calls from CSA members asking about Health Care rebates for purchasing a CSA share. Most of the local health insurance companies offer an incentive/rebate for eating healthy local food by joining a CSA. There is a hitch though. Some of them require the farm to be a member of the Fair Share CSA coalition.
Fairshare was originally started as a way to bring consumers and farmers together. It made it much easier to know which farms were offering CSA shares and some background on the farm. After a few years Fairshare decided to impose an requirement for the farm to be certified organic or they would no longer/can not be listed as a Fairshare CSA farm.
Becker Family Farms is not certified organic. There are several reasons for this decision. First, we always try to use organic methods, but if there is an insect problem we cannot control we would prefer to be able to fall back on conventional sprays vs. losing an entire crop. Second, certification requires that we must be inspected each year and this has between a $600 and $1000 cost. Some organic practices are detrimental to the environment. An example is the widespread use of plastic mulch. It helps to suppress weeds without herbicide and warms the soil, but it is made of plastic and is usually sent to a landfill at the end of the season, sometimes by the dumpster full. We use BioTelo, a bio-degradeable mulch similar to plastic, but made from corn starch and fully bio-degradable. It is tilled into the soil at the end of the season and breaks down naturally into harmless components. BioTelo is not certified organic in the United States (but is certified in most other countries).
The US Organic program allows for some GMO inputs that are banned in other countries. Seed breeding techniques like CMS (Cytoplasmic Male Sterility) is classified as GMO in every country except the US. Seed breeders have lobbied and obtained a waiver to allow seeds bred with CMS techniques to be labeled as organic. This means your broccoli may have radish, sunflower or corn DNA inserted into it’s genetic structure. We feel this violates the principal of no GMOs. Most seed breeders won’t reveal their breeding methods. Many organic growers don’t know about these waivers. We feel the value of being certified organic is not worth the expense and hoops that are imposed. We feel that being honest with our customers about how we raise our crops, researching our seed sources and speaking directly to you are the most effective ways for a customer to trust that what he is eating is the safe, healthy and nutritious.
Finally, we do use some conventional fertilizer and feel that this allows us to maximize crop yield and health.
All of that being said, most of the health insurance companies are attracted to Fairshare as it removes the requirement for health insurance companies to deal directly with farms to determine if they are truely running a CSA. It is a simple paperwork burden that they offload. Please see below for a list of health plans in the Dane County area and whether they will reimburse you for being a member of our CSA:
To access Living Healthy Program benefits, Dean members will need to complete an Online Well-Being Assessment (WBA) and log “points” for healthy behaviors (including eating food provided through your CSA). Points will be redeemable for dollars in the form of a gift card. Individual adults will be eligible for up to $75 for healthy food choices ($50 for food points, $25 for completion of initial wellness assessment).
You’re able to log your points on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis and gift cards will be sent out each time you reach a 25 point level. You may put this money toward the cost of your CSA share!
WPS Health Insurance
WPS will reimburse CSA membership up to $200 for MATC members. For a non-MATC member, please check your benefits to determine what amount will be re-imbursed. The Healthsense Claim Form must be filled out and submitted. Please contact the farm if you need a receipt.
Members are eligible for a rebate for purchase of fruit and vegetable CSA membership. To receive your reimbursement, complete the online Wellness Reimbursement form located within GHCMyChartsm. The total allowable reimbursement is $100 per person with a maximum reimbursement of $200 per household. If you have family coverage, you may submit for reimbursement under one GHC-SCW family member’s GHCMyChartSM account.
Details and links to the necessary information are located on the GHC CSA Wellness Rebate website.
Unity and Physicians Plus
Our farm is not currently covered as we are not certified organic (A requirement imposed by Fairshare in order to be a member on their list). If you have Unity or Physicians Plus health insurance and you would like to be able to take advantage of their CSA reimbursement, please call and tell them you would like them to cover Becker Family Farms.