Document Type

Honors Project


Every year, migrant farmworkers (MFWs) travel from southern Texas to Minnesota to provide the temporary labor needed to harvest seasonal Minnesotan crops. Migratory agricultural labor exposes workers to increased risk of occupational hazards, communicable disease, and chronic illness. However, the agricultural industry does not offer employer-based health insurance to these seasonal workers, and provides wages insufficient to otherwise cover the cost of health care services. This research investigates the financial and non-financial barriers to health care for Minnesota’s MFWs through interviews with staff from Migrant Health Service, Inc., the only federally-designated Migrant Health Center (MHC) in Minnesota. The findings show that language, immigration status, and affordability are three prominent barriers to health care for MFWs. While the Affordable Care Act increases their access by providing additional funding to MHCs, the law does not extend private or state-based insurance to many MFWs due to their immigration status. Thus, because of limited financial means, MFWs remain restricted to MHCs for health services.



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