Will the Affordable Care Act affect fire, emergency volunteer programs?


Staff Writer

Enforcement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law by President Barack Obama March 23, 2014, could adversely affect volunteer services at the fire department and in the emergency operations department of the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office.

According to current federal law and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) policy and interpretation of the law, any organization with over 50 volunteers who work more than 30 hours per week is obligated to provide health care benefits to those volunteers or face a fine. The current interpretation of this policy is based upon the employer-shared responsibility provision in the ACA. This means that organizations such as the Pagosa Fire Protection District and sheriff’s office could potentially be held responsible for the provision of health care benefits to volunteers.

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