Seasonal farmworkers face uphill battle for health insurance

In the United States legally through the H-2A visa program, these farmworkers, like most American citizens and legal residents, must be insured. But reaching them is an uphill battle.

News Story (NATIONAL, North Carolina)

Alejandra Cancino
Associated Press (AP)
June 20, 2016

Tags: Farm and Migrant Workers, Health Care

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid of North Carolina (LANC)


The majority come from Mexico to work in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. The deadline for getting insurance starts when they enter the country. They have 60 days to learn about coinsurance and copayments, and decide whether to purchase a high- or low-deductible plan.

Alexis Guild, a migrant health policy analyst at Farmworker Justice, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C., said a yearslong partnership among various nonprofits and health centers in North Carolina has been working to enroll the workers.

In the camp near Dunn, Pittman told the workers that the cost of health insurance depends on the type purchased, income and family size. Some people don’t have monthly payments, others could pay $40 per month. Consider, she added, that this year’s fine is $695 or 2 percent of wages, whichever is greater.