House bill exempts EMS volunteers from PPACA’s mandate

The House on January 12 passed the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Bill (HR 33). It would prevent volunteer firefighters and emergency responders from being counted as full-time employees by the IRS under the employer mandate of the PPACA. Currently, under the employer mandate provision, employers with 50 or more employees must provide health insurance or pay penalties. If volunteers were considered employees, fire companies could exceed the 50-employee threshold in several different ways: a volunteer department by itself based on size; by being part of a combined, paid-volunteer firefighter department; or by being part of a municipality that has 50 or more public employees in total. The IRS had previously indicated that it would not count hours of volunteer firefighters and emergency responders when determining an employer’s full-time employees in compliance with the PPACA. The legislation would act as insurance against any future changes from the IRS.

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