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Affordable Care Act: Preparing for the Inevitable

Earlier this month, the Affordable Care Act’s spotlight shone brightly on volunteer firefighters. It was a turn for rural cities and towns, who rely heavily on these resources, to stop and say “hey, have we thought this through”. If these volunteers work more than 30 hours per week (in addition to full-time jobs) and were going to suddenly be offered healthcare, how would the costs affect the services provided to the community? Many feared they would have to limit the amount of hours volunteered, but at a cost of keeping the public safe. Luckily, the US Treasury and IRS listened to members of Congress and representatives from the volunteer firefighter’s community to exclude this group.1

This gets me thinking… what else are organizations not anticipating? Things aren’t always black and white. Healthcare Reform legislation isn’t changing, but are there other grey areas for public sector employers that need some special consideration? Now is the time to evaluate and prepare. Even starting with the practice of simple timecard analysis, organizations will know pretty quickly if there are any issues that need to be addressed. Regardless if an employer tracks time manually or through an automated system, they will all be on the hook to report back on their part-time/full-time status. The clock is ticking (344 days to be exact), don’t wait until it’s almost upon us.

1 Treasury Ensures Fair Treatment for Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders under the Affordable Care Act – 1/10/14

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