November 8, 2013

Fire departments may have to scale back because their volunteers work too long. It could be the latest unintended consequence of the Affordable Care Act.

Under the healthcare law, counties are required to provide heath insurance for firefighters, including volunteer firefighters, but many of the counties are finding that they may not have the funds to provide insurance for departments that operate using dozens of volunteers.

For example, Cheatham County has nine firefighters on the payroll, while about 60 to 70 extra men and women work as volunteers. But if the county is forced to insure them, volunteer firefighters could start disappearing from the ranks.

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