March 1, 2023

WGAT: Supporting the Health Care Needs of Ag Workers

Not all health plans are created equal. In fact, not all health plans are created with a unique audience in mind. For more than six decades, Western Growers Assurance Trust (WGAT) has been committed to ensuring a healthy future for our members in the agricultural community. WGAT offers solutions that address unique situations, such as health care coverage for field workers, seasonal employees and workers who only speak Spanish. And although we specialize in services that help farmworkers and the Spanish-speaking community, we ensure our plans and programs serve all demographics.

Cross-Border Health Care

Close to a million Americans cross the border every year to receive medical treatments that are otherwise considered too expensive to receive in the U.S. In fact, many of these patients mainly come from the states of California, Arizona and Texas, according to statistical data from Patients Beyond Borders.

Cross-border health care combines innovation and resourcefulness to reduce health care costs for employers while creating more options for their employees. Because WGAT recognizes the significance the border region has on the agriculture industry, we designed a comprehensive Mexico Cross-Border Program to provide flexible medical and dental care options for our members. The program includes a list of specialty and diagnostic services, such as anesthesiology, dermatology, internal medicine, orthopedics and much more. In addition, WGAT enhanced its Mexico plans in the last year to include nutritionist consultations for patients diagnosed with diabetes, as well as on-site consultations for cardiology and neurology.

Recently, WGAT announced the opening of Healthy Families Medical Center, conveniently located close to the border in Mexicali, Mexico. The state-of-the-art facility allows our members to seek affordable and quality health care across the border, which includes general and family physicians; knowledgeable and skilled care providers; personalized care from bilingual staff; and pharmacy, lab and X-ray services. This new addition further expands our members’ access to high quality and affordable health care.

Cedar Health and Wellness Centers

To serve the primary health care needs of our members and their employees, WGAT created its Cedar Health and Wellness Centers as an effective solution for employers in agriculture to offer affordable and basic health care coverage and prevention care for their employees.

Our Cedar Health and Wellness Centers and associated Cedar Network is included in every WGAT plan, and we continue to expand our list of network providers throughout California and Arizona. Our Cedar plans are a popular option for employers in ag and enable both employers and employees to significantly save on health care costs.

As the marketplace looks for more innovation and cost-efficiency, WGAT recently announced exciting plan enhancements that will take effect this year to deliver more value to members and reduce costs. These enhancements include $0 copays for our best-in-class Cross-Border Mexico network of health care providers, $0 copays for Cedar Health and Wellness Center visits, and a $0 cost-share telemedicine program so members can access virtual primary care without any expense.

Telehealth services can be extremely cost effective for both employers and employees, which is why we encourage our members to make use of virtual health care. Members in ag benefit from telehealth services in a number of ways, from receiving bilingual services to engaging with a doctor from any location within minutes.

Telehealth has surged since the start of the pandemic, with an estimated 83.9 percent of patients using virtual health care visits for the first time, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC). As more patients discover the convenience and benefits of telehealth, we can expect the popularity of virtual health care to continue to rise.

If you don’t have a WGAT plan and would like to know more about how we can help you better manage your health care costs, contact Western Growers Insurance Services for more information. You can reach a sales team member at (800) 333-4WGA.