|By Whitney Phillips, Greeley Tribune, Colo.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Farmers and livestock owners in the county say they're preparing to comply by 2016 -- a deadline that's been extended for the second time -- but many of them are having a difficult time figuring out where to start.
They're in good company, as insurance agents and attorneys say many are finding it difficult to decipher the requirements.
"It's not simple stuff," said
The Affordable Care Act requires businesses with more than 50 full-time employees to provide reasonably priced health insurance options or pay a
"We're trying to ask our industry people and attorneys and so on what we're supposed to do, and a lot of them aren't sure either," Kraft said.
At the top of the list of concerns for many employers is the question of how seasonal workers should be counted under the new law.
"When they come into work, we're really not sure how long they're going to work," she said.
"If we had to pay health care on all those people, we wouldn't be able to farm, really," he said. "If we had to pay that
Like Sakata, Hungenberg said if all of their seasonal employees do qualify under the requirements, his family will have to reconsider how they operate and may have to lean more on automated systems to bring in their carrot and cabbage crops.
"We have to find a way to be more efficient or we would have to be able to get more for our product," Hungenberg said, adding that carrot prices likely won't increase enough to help alleviate financial stress.
"This is just something that we're trying to be progressive about and get everyone covered," he said.
Harper said while he's not required to change his health care options, he's seen how convoluted the process can be, and he's grateful he had the help of an insurance agent from start to finish.
"We're just hearing stories by the dozens that are telling us that people who have never had insurance before are now getting insurance, and we're seeing everything from stints in hearts to liver transplants that weren't getting done because people didn't have the insurance."
"It's a moving target," Fagerberg said.
With added paperwork and costs, Fagerberg said whatever the requirements end up being, he predicts they'll be an added burden to his family operation.
"Just like any other small business, it's going to be a problem," he said.
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