Obamacare mandates that fire departments pay for health benefits - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Obamacare mandates that fire departments pay for health benefits for many volunteer firefighters

Posted: Updated:

A portion of the Obamacare law mandates that many fire departments across the country will have to provide medical benefits to volunteer firefighters. That could mean fewer firefighters on the job.

Chief Tommy Norris of the Awendaw District Fire Department is like many firefighters, "my dad was a volunteer firefighter and I knew that's what I wanted to do when I grew up."

Watching his dad volunteer gave him a desire to fight fires one day. Well, as it is currently written, the health care law could mean fewer firefighters out there for kids to look up to. "The National Volunteer Fire Council asked the IRS to rule, just recently, if volunteers would be classified as employees in the definition of the Affordable Care Act, and they were."

That means any organization that has volunteer firefighters or rescue crews, with 50 or more employees, will have to start offering and providing medical benefits to employees who volunteer 30 or more hours per week.

Norris says that has a big impact. "My 12 volunteers, if we had to provide health coverage for all those volunteers, it would come out to about $85,000 per year added to the budget."

There are 11,000 volunteer firefighters in South Carolina. The SC State Firefighters Association says it would cost about $55 million per year to provide health benefits to all those volunteers.

The association says that on December the 10th, bills were introduced in the House and Senate that would exempt volunteer firefighters and other rescue workers from the Obamacare mandate.

"There are several organizations in the state have upwards of 200, 300, even 400 volunteers in the county, and for those organizations, if they had to provide healthcare for volunteer firefighters, it would be a tremendous impact. And if you have to provide it you have to do something, either you have to let volunteers go or you have to cut services."

South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson signed on as a sponsor of the legislation in the House. Association officials say they hope to see that legislation pass in the House and Senate sometime in early 2014.

78 of the firefighting organizations in South Carolina are mandated to provide health benefits to volunteers under Obamacare.

  • The St. Paul's Music Festival is going strong this Labor Day

    The St. Paul's Music Festival is going strong this Labor Day

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:03 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:03:42 GMT
    The 2014 St. Paul's Music Festival is being held by the Towns of Ravenel and Hollywood this Labor Day. The TAMS will finish up the lineup the afternoon at 6:00pm. The event is being held at Wide Awake Park in Hollywood at 5053 Trexler Ave.Gate prices: Adult $15.00/Children $5.00.
    The 2014 St. Paul's Music Festival is being held by the Towns of Ravenel and Hollywood this Labor Day. The TAMS will finish up the lineup the afternoon at 6:00pm. The event is being held at Wide Awake Park in Hollywood at 5053 Trexler Ave.Gate prices: Adult $15.00/Children $5.00.
  • Horry County looks at first aid stands at beach

    Horry County looks at first aid stands at beach

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:50 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:50:23 GMT
    Horry County officials want to add three first aid stations to some popular beaches near North Myrtle Beach. County Councilman Brent Schulz told The Sun News of Myrtle Beach that the first aid stations would be staffed and would give people at the beach a place to get out of the sun and get treatment for minor problems. The stations would be placed at the end of streets by the beach. Schulz says he has heard they are popular in Florida and California. Officials will meet with North Beach Serv...
    Horry County officials want to add three first aid stations to some popular beaches near North Myrtle Beach. County Councilman Brent Schulz told The Sun News of Myrtle Beach that the first aid stations would be staffed and would give people at the beach a place to get out of the sun and get treatment for minor problems. The stations would be placed at the end of streets by the beach. Schulz says he has heard they are popular in Florida and California. Officials will meet with North Beach Serv...
  • 2 women, 4 kids hurt in Lake Keowee jet ski wreck

    2 women, 4 kids hurt in Lake Keowee jet ski wreck

    Monday, September 1 2014 2:32 PM EDT2014-09-01 18:32:52 GMT
    Authorities say two jet skis collided on Lake Keowee, injuring the two drivers and four children who were riding along. Department of Natural Resources spokesman Robert McCullough said one of the jet skis ran over the other one around 7 p.m. Sunday on the lake near Cane Creek. McCullough says the two women driving the jet skis were critically injured and taken to the hospital by helicopter. Each woman had two children behind her. McCullough says the children weren't as badly injured. McCullou...
    Authorities say two jet skis collided on Lake Keowee, injuring the two drivers and four children who were riding along. Department of Natural Resources spokesman Robert McCullough said one of the jet skis ran over the other one around 7 p.m. Sunday on the lake near Cane Creek. McCullough says the two women driving the jet skis were critically injured and taken to the hospital by helicopter. Each woman had two children behind her. McCullough says the children weren't as badly injured. McCullou...
Powered by WorldNow

210 W. Coleman Blvd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

Telephone: 843.216.4875
Fax: 843.881.3410
Email: news@wcbd.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.