Volunteers Must Be Given Insurance Under Health Care Law - WSET.com - ABC13

Volunteers Must Be Given Insurance Under Health Care Law

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Bedford Co., VA - An oversight in the federal health care law has local volunteer fire and rescue agencies wondering how they'll pay to insure their volunteers.

There's no exemption in the Affordable Care Act for volunteer agencies, so the IRS is treating them like companies.

As it stands now, if an agency has more than 50 volunteers, who serve more than 30 hours a week, those volunteers must be offered insurance.

Bedford County Fire and Rescue has more than 500 volunteers.

"Our members carry pagers and radios and respond all hours of the day or night. When are they on or off duty as volunteers?," said Chief Jack Jones, Jr. "Do we say if you carry a pager, you're on duty 24 hours a day? If so, one day plus six hours, you've reached your threshold of 30. So do I then need to tell you stay home and don't respond?"

Senator Mark Warner was part of a bi-partisan team that introduced legislation to exempt volunteer agencies from the health insurance requirement.

His bill has been referred to the Senate finance committee. A companion bill in the House was referred to the Ways and Means committee.

We'll keep watching them at ABC 13, and let you know where they go.

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