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Health insurance costs concern FB

Created: 3/24/10 (Wed) | Topic: Issues

The American Farm Bureau Federation continues to study the massive 2,000-page health care law that was signed by President Barack Obama on Tuesday. Patricia Wolff, AFBF health care specialist, notes a major Farm Bureau concern is increased health insurance costs.

“One of the big concerns is what will happen to health insurance costs because the law is long on mandates and short on things that will guarantee that prices will be contained,” Wolff said. “One of the things missing from the law is tort reform. There’s no mention of doing away or scaling back the lawsuits that people bring against doctors and hospitals. Those lawsuits are believed to increase the costs of health care because doctors and hospitals do extra procedures and order extra tests just to prevent from being sued.”

Wolff said farmers and ranchers who already have health insurance have the option of keeping the health insurance they have or buying health insurance in a new marketplace called an “exchange.” For farmers and ranchers without health insurance, they will have to go out and buy insurance or pay a penalty. These provisions won’t kick in until 2014.

“There are several things in the bill that help with part-time and seasonal workers,” Wolf explained. “The requirement to provide coverage for employees—and that’s for businesses with over 50 people—is only for full-time employees who work more than 30 hours a week. There’s also relief in the bill for those who hire seasonal workers who work on a farm or in a business less than 120 days per year.”
 

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