MORE THAN JUST A HEALTH PLAN
Western Growers Assurance Trust (WGAT) is an organization with a rich history and devoted to the fundamental mission of our parent company, Western Growers: to enhance the competitiveness and profitability of our members.
WGAT is the largest provider of health benefits for the agriculture industry. The Trust was founded in 1957 to bridge the gap between agriculture and health care. For more than 60 years, WGAT has existed solely to serve its members. Our benefit plans are highly customizable to meet the diverse needs of owners, managers, field workers and seasonal employees. We care about the ag community, and we care about your health. To us, you are not only a customer, but also a member and part of the Western Growers family.
WGAT plans are only available to members of Western Growers.
Our clients are not just our clients; they are members and part of the Western Growers family. Our mission is to support agriculture and ensure a healthy future for owners, managers, field workers and seasonal employees who grow and transport our food. We excel at providing options for seasonal employees, who represent a good portion of the agricultural industry.
WGAT supports the interests of agriculture.
WGAT is an association health plan that enables employers to get together to form a stronger industry health plan than they can get with a large carrier. WGAT clients are eligible to become a part of our board and help shape the success of its members and support the interests of agriculture. WGAT is unique in that it’s overseen by an independent board of trustees made up of those in agricultural-related businesses. The Board of Trustees plays an active role in weighing in on important investment decisions that affect the future of WGAT.
WGAT offers a diverse portfolio of services.
WGAT was one of the first exclusive networks to provide cross-border care, ensuring our members can get access to quality care for much less than what it costs in the U.S. In addition, WGAT provides health care through several Cedar Health and Wellness Centers in your region to serve the primary care needs of your employees. Our Cedar plans deliver exceptional and convenient care with lower copays and are an effective way for employers in the agriculture industry to offer basic health coverage and preventive care. We also offer pharmacy benefits management solutions to help you control costs and ensure your employees are getting accurate and adequate prescriptions.
WGAT is member-driven.
WGAT remains dedicated to serving its members. With a network of offices throughout Arizona and California, we are proud to provide personalized service at the local level. We have a knowledgeable and bilingual customer support team and dedicated account managers to help you with any questions you may have. Our client service representatives can also help you manage your plan and visit your crew sites to help with insurance questions so your employees can remain productive at work. As a member-centric organization, we ensure our leadership team is always accessible to our clients. As part of our commitment to you, we also work with you to inform you of recent laws and legislative changes that may affect your obligations as an employer. WGAT members receive regular updates from our legal experts on laws and legislative changes so you can keep abreast of the latest requirements and remain in compliance.
WGAT is a non-profit.
WGAT is a non-profit Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Trust operating under Section 501(c)(9) of the IRS code and are managed by the Department of Labor. WGAT is extremely special in that it’s licensed as a Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement (MEWA) in California. In fact, we are one of the largest MEWAs in the nation. This makes us different from anyone else because California law requires self-funded MEWAs to obtain a certificate of compliance from the Department of Insurance in order to operate within the state. But under the law, the Department of Insurance ceased providing such certificates in 1995, effectively precluding the formation of any new self-funded MEWAs. MEWAs are an administratively feasible way to provide a substantial benefits package for a reasonable price. Employers may join to take advantage of the economies of scale provided by pooling their resources (we avoid going into state pools), resulting in a much more approachable way to self-fund versus a single employer taking on the expense and risk. We also offer expanded provider networks.