Alexander Joins Professional Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee

2013 December 19.

Karen Timmins, vice president human resources is pleased to announce a new member to the Western Growers, 2014 Professional Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee.  Jon Alexander, general counsel for Western Growers Assurance Trust, joins Jorge Suarez, director strategic planning & human resources at Ocean Mist Farms and Terre Catanzaro, chief administrative officer at JV Smith & Companies, in their on-going, dedicated commitment to providing empirical pay and benefits information to the California and Arizona employers in the produce industry.  

Health Care Insurance Options for Employers Are Many

2013 November 01.

Dear Jon:

I don’t know if I’m a large or small employer and I’m nervous about health care reform and the health insurance exchange.  We have health coverage with Western Growers now, but if I’m a small employer can I still buy a plan from Western Growers or do I have to buy from the health insurance exchange?  What if I’m a large employer?

— Worried in Woodlake

Dear Worried,

ACA & WGIS Western Growers Responds to Demands of New Law

2013 November 01.

Nothing this huge can be totally seamless, but the leadership of Western Growers Assurance Trust (WGAT) has devised a new program that takes into account the changes required by health care reform in a relatively benign way.

Employers who have been covering all their employees will find that while benefits have been increased significantly, according to the tenants of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, premiums will not take a significant jump.

What are Health Insurance Exchanges?

2013 October 01.

WG Compliance Counsel


Dear Jon:


I’ve been hearing so much about the health insurance exchanges and Covered California, but what exactly is an exchange and does it affect me as an employer?


— Puzzled in Pajaro


Dear Puzzled:


A health insurance exchange is, in essence, an online marketplace where individuals and businesses (small businesses under 50 employees) will be able to shop for health insurance beginning October 1, 2013.

Annual Meeting Workshops in Hawaii Feature Expert Panelists

2013 September 12.

You won’t want to miss Workshop II on Health Care Reform featuring Western Growers’ General Counsel, “Dear Jon” author and Health Care Reform expert, Jonathan Alexander, who will lead the workshop.  Vic Smith of Skyview Cooling Company will moderate and Garland Reiter of Reiter Affiliated Companies and David Zanze, Sr. Vice President of Western Growers will join as panelists. The workshop will help answer your many questions on Health Care Reform.

Keep a Closer Eye on Workers’ Compensation Costs in ACA Era

2013 September 01.

Much attention has been focused on the Affordable Care Act, but employers should not forget to pay close attention to their workers’ compensation coverage and loss control programs as well.  While employer-provided health benefits and workers’ compensation coverage have coexisted for decades, the introduction of the individual mandate to have health insurance could change the dynamics in a number of subtle ways.  Heightened awareness is the key for employers.

Has Obamacare Been Canceled?

2013 August 01.

Dear Jon:

I heard recently that Obamacare has been canceled and that employers no longer need to worry about the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Is this true?

— Confounded in Coalinga


Dear CC,

Cost Calculator Helps Employers Digest ACA

2013 August 01.

If you’ve been trying to understand your requirements under The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), by now, you’ve come to realize that the federal statute is (at the risk of citing the obvious) complex.  As evidenced by the delay ruling announced Tuesday, July 2, 2013, the government similarly sees that there are complexities that will require additional time for employers to prepare for compliance.

Mandatory Health Insurance Exchange Notice

2013 July 30.

Health Care Reform has created new coverage options for individuals, known as Health Insurance Exchanges.  Individual states have the option of sponsoring their own Health Insurance Exchange. For example, California has created its own state-based exchange called Covered California. For states that don’t sponsor their own exchange, (for example, Arizona) individuals can access the federal government sponsored health insurance exchange called the Marketplace.

Health Care Reform Explained

2013 May 01.

Western Growers Assurance Trust hosted a successful round of executive forums on Health Care Reform throughout California and Arizona in March and April to educate members about the 2014 Affordable Care Act mandates and to provide solutions for agricultural businesses.