Fair Treatment for Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Under the Affordable Care Act

Last week, the U.S. Department of Treasury announced that fire departments will not be required to provide coverage to volunteer firefighters under the Affordable Care Act. You can read the statement in full on the Treasury Department’s blog.

Neil Reichenberg, the Executive Director of IPMA-HR, released the following statement this week supporting the decision:

The International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) commends the Treasury Department for its decision exempting volunteer firefighters and volunteer emergency medical personnel from being considered employees of the organizations in the implementing regulations for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. According to the National Volunteer Fire Council, there are more than 750,000 volunteer firefighters and an estimated additional 200,000 – 300,000 volunteer emergency medical personnel in the United States. The cost of providing health care to volunteers would have a potentially devastating financial impact on those agencies that utilize volunteers. This could result in agencies curtailing or eliminating the use of volunteers, which could have a negative impact on public safety.

How would the Affordable Care Act have affected your agency’s staffing practices in the future? Would you have been forced to reduce staff hours to comply with the new law? We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.

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