Senator Coons, Colleagues Urge Healthcare Mandate Changes - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Senator Coons, Colleagues Urge Healthcare Mandate Changes

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WMDT 47 NEWS - U.S. Senator Chris Coons and seven of his colleagues reportedly wrote to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Monday to clarify the "Shared Responsibility" provision of the Affordable Care Act for volunteer first responders.

According to reports, Senator Coons is seeking to ensure that Delaware's 6,000 volunteer firefighters and emergency responders are not counted as employees under the provision, potentially triggering the law's coverage mandate for businesses with more than 50 employees.

Chris Carroll, vice president of Atlantic Smith, Cropper and Deeley, says that starting in 2015, companies will have to pay a tax credit of about $166.67 for every volunteer that works more than 130 hours per month under the current provision.

While Carroll does feel that the law has the potential to change, he says it is essential to have a January 2014 plan in case the January 2015 penalties start.

"Have your plan B or your plan A and then put pressure that hopefully the law will change," says Carroll. "Regardless, you should be planning in January 2014 because if you wait until January 2015, it's too late."

Reports say many emergency response agencies do not have the resources to provide pay or benefits to volunteers, nor do most volunteer first responders expect to receive compensation or health coverage as a result of their volunteer public service.

Carroll recommends that companies test their volunteers to see how many hours they are working, which may help them to avoid paying the tax credit in 2015.


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