Volunteer Fire Companies Worried about "Unintended Consequence" - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Volunteer Fire Companies Worried about "Unintended Consequence" of Obamacare

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CLAYTON, Del. (WBOC) - Volunteer fire departments across Delmarva are worried about what might have been an unintended consequence of the Affordable Care Act.

The law requires workplaces with more than 50 employees to provide health coverage for those people.

The IRS often considers fire company volunteers employees for tax purposes. That means many of them might fall under this Obamacare provision.

It's especially serious in the First State, where 98 percent of fire companies are all or mostly volunteer.

The Clayton Fire Company is one of Delaware's many volunteer fire departments.

Kevin Wilson, a spokesman for the company, says it has about 50 active volunteer firefighters, in addition to people who volunteer in other ways.

The department is worried about the effects of the health care law.

"We're very concerned," said Wilson. "One of the biggest impacts for us is the financial impact."

Warren Jones, executive manager of the Delaware Volunteer Firefighter's Association, says the impact to departments statewide could be substantial.

"They're all concerned. We're all concerned. We're staying on top of the situation."

Jones says this issue popped up within the past few months. They've been working with national associations and federal lawmakers to do something about it.

Ian Koski, a spokesman for Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, says this is certainly an unintended consequence of the Affordable Care Act, and Coons is looking for a viable solution.

"We're hoping at this point that our federal legislative body and national associations will work together to have the volunteer fire services exempted from Obamacare," said Wilson.

Earlier this week two bills were introduced in Congress to exempt volunteer fire companies from the law.

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