RICHMOND (WRIC) - There are new concerns over whether the Affordable Care Act could shut down some Richmond area volunteer firefighters and rescue squads.
The Richmond Volunteer Rescue Squad serves the entire city, helping the Richmond Ambulance Authority respond to emergency calls. The squad has around 50 volunteers, but there are new concerns about the affordable care act and if volunteers will be designated as employees.
Warren Winner with the Rescue Squad says the IRS currently designates anyone that works over 30 hours as an employee, even if they're a volunteer. This means agencies with more than 50 people like volunteer fire departments and rescue squads, would be required to offer insurance - something winner says won't be possible for them
"It's one of those things that was sort of slipped into the law and I sort of blame our legislators for not being fully cognizant of what they were signing onto," he says. "From a dollars and cents standpoint it would be rather disastrous. It is difficult enough to collect the public donations."
Right now the rescue squad helps the Richmond Ambulance Authority and helps train students looking to be emergency responders, if they had to shut down, that training would stop and for residents.
"It would be just that less of the number of resources that would be out there on the street to take care of their emergency medical service needs."
The insurance mandate does not kick in until 2015. Winner is hoping lawmakers come up with some type exemption for emergency responders before the 12 month deadline is up.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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