The National Association of Counties is reporting the U.S. Department of the Treasury final regulations on the Affordable Care Act employer mandate will exempt the hours of volunteer fire fighters and other local government and non-profit emergency responders from triggering the coverage mandate — which would require that they be provided affordable comprehensive health insurance, according to an email released by NACo.
The email states the announcement was posted on the "Treasury Notes" blog by Treasury assistant secretary for tax policy, Mark J. Mazur, who wrote the regulations will generally "not require volunteer hours of bona fide volunteer firefighters and volunteer emergency medical personnel at governmental or tax-exempt organizations to be counted when determining full-time employees (or full-time equivalents)."Under the ACA, employers with 50 or more full time workers are required to offer affordable comprehensive health insurance to their employees or be subject to a penalty. Under the ACA, full time generally means 30 or more hours per week, with the hours of part time workers combined into full time equivalent employees. Treasury had not, to date, responded to the concerns raised by NACo or the International Association of Fire Chiefs about the status of volunteer emergency workers. Counties served by volunteer fire departments — often rural counties — were very concerned that being required to offer comprehensive health coverage to their volunteers could force the departments to close, states the NACo email.