FFVA district meetings to offer key health care reform information

Charles Cook, senior vice president of employee benefits at BB&T-J. Rolfe Davis, will cover key aspects of the Affordable Care Act at meetings scheduled throughout Florida.

To prepare agricultural employers for the Affordable Care Act and its implications for 2014, FFVA will host district meetings on the topic in seven locations around the state. Led by a team from BB&T-J. Rolfe Davis, the meetings will cover a variety of topics, including who must provide health insurance, which employees must be covered, penalties associated with the law, and how H-2A employees will be affected.

The sessions are scheduled for Balm, Lake Alfred, Homestead, Belle Glade, Immokalee, Fort Pierce and Sebring in late October and early November.

All growers are invited to attend whether they are FFVA members or not. Charles Cook, senior vice president of employee benefits at BB&T-J. Rolfe Davis, advises companies to send more than one person to attend.  “This is something where you need to know where you stand as an employer and have a broad understanding of your responsibilities. It’s the kind of thing where the owner of the company, the finance person and human resources person all will benefit from the broad spectrum of information that will be provided at these meetings,” Cook said.

Originally set for July, the meetings were rescheduled after the Obama administration delayed implementation of some of the employer requirements. A complimentary meal will be served at each meeting. There is no registration fee, but attendees are asked to register to ensure an accurate head count for the meal.

“We’ll cover health care reform in general, measurement periods, treatment of seasonal and variable hourly employees, plan affordability and benefit value, and health care reform fees,” Cook said.

Further, growers don’t need to wait for the meetings to start preparing. “They should be working now on defining how they track their employee hours and days worked,” he said. “Through their payroll system or their time and attendance systems, they need to be able to quickly look back three months, six months, or a year and have an accurate determination of how many hours people have worked.”

BB&T-J. Rolfe Davis also will hand out reference materials and offer growers the opportunity to schedule an initial analysis of their operation.

FFVA is providing sponsorship opportunities for its trade associate members for the meetings. There is a high level of interest in this topic, and the sessions are expected to be well-attended. FFVA is seeking 25 sponsors at $150 each. Meal sponsors will be recognized on signs and introduced at each meeting. Additionally, sponsors may provide promotional materials to be displayed on a joint sponsor table. If you are interested, please contact Sonia Tighe by email at sonia.tighe@ffva.com or at 813-975-8377.

Cook said even if there are more changes, it’s important to learn as much as possible now. “Everything is subject to change with this program,” he said. “We will have to deal with what we know when we know it. My understanding is there could be updated regulations, changes to interpretations of regulations or changes to forms. It’s very important to stay on top of what’s happening, and there’s no better time to do it than now; 2014 is a scant two months away.”

Register for a meeting by clicking your preferred location and date below.

Oct. 29, noon, UF Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Balm

Oct. 29, 5 p.m., UF Citrus Research and Education Center, Lake Alfred

Nov. 4, 5 p.m., Dade County CES, Homestead

Nov.  5, noon, UF Everglades Research and Education Center, Belle Glade 

Nov. 5, 5 p.m., UF Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, Immokalee

Nov.  7, noon, USDA Agriculture Research Service office, Fort Pierce

Nov. 18, noon, Bert Harris Agriculture Center, Sebring

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