Sen. Warner Responds to ACA Effects on Volunteer Agencies

Bedford Co., VA - What some view as an oversight in the Affordable Care Act has caught the attention of a Virginia Senator.

Mark Warner wants it fixed before it's too late.

We had just talked to Bedford County Fire and Rescue Chief Jack Jones, Jr. a few hours before a fire broke out along Route 221.

The chief told us he'd written Warner and the rest of Virginia's congressional delegation.

Here's the issue: the IRS says if a department has more than 50 volunteers, who serve more than 30 hours a week and get any sort of compensation, a plaque, chicken dinner at a banquet, or even a baseball cap, those volunteers are considered employees and you've got to give them health insurance.

Warner tells me he understands how crucial the volunteer force is in our part of Virginia.

Agencies started calling his office in late September.

"This was a case where it really had nothing to do with the law," said Warner. "It was more about IRS regulations in terms of how they treat volunteer firemen or rescue squads based on the amount of any reimbursement they might get. So it was a question, like a lot of the other questions in the health care bill, where the intent was one thing, but how the regulations get interpreted is what we're trying to make sure we get fixed."

Senator Warner's bill, and a companion bill in the House, both went to committee before Congress recessed for the holidays.

Warner is confident this can be resolved before it would actually become a problem.

Businesses with 50 or more full time employees must provide insurance starting January 1, 2015.

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