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Volunteer fire departments exempt from Obamacare


Volunteer fire departments and other volunteer emergency-response organizations will be exempt from one central mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

Employers with 50 or more employees must offer health insurance coverage to its workers, according to new federal rules. However, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has said that volunteer emergency organizations will have an exemption from that provision.

During a public-commentary period in 2013, the Department of the Treasury found that “comments generally suggested that the employer responsibility rules should not count volunteer hours of nominally compensated volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel in determining full-time employees (or full-time equivalents).”

The Department of the Treasury said that members of Congress echoed those concerns

“As a result of that review and analysis, the forthcoming final regulations relating to employer shared responsibility generally will 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),” the Treasury said in a release.

In Texas, 77 percent of fire service comes from volunteer departments, according to the State Firemen’s & Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas.

Mark Haslett has served at KETR since 2013. Since then, the station's news operation has enjoyed an increase in listener engagement and audience metrics, as well recognition in the Texas AP Broadcasters awards.
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