ACA on the farm

Cost of complying with ACA will be burdensome for contractors, farmers

Providing health insurance to thousands of uninsured field workers to meet Affordable Care Act requirements will be a challenge for California’s agricultural industry.

According to estimates from the insurance industry, minimum health coverage under the ACA would cost the agriculture industry $1 per employee for every hour of work in the field, according to The New York Times.

Farm-labor contractors typically operate with a 2 percent profit margin, leaving little room to accommodate the added cost of providing health-care coverage. The expense likely will be passed on to growers and, subsequently, consumers.

Further, field workers will also have difficulty setting aside enough of their wages to cover health-care expenses; the minimum health plan under the ACA would cost farm workers about $250 a month.