Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt (R,C,I – Greenwood Lake) would like her constituents to know that legislation has been enacted to provide more affordable health insurance for volunteer firefighters and emergency responders.
“The volunteers who sacrifice time with their family, oftentimes their own dollars, and risk their lives to protect us are the everyday heroes that deserve to be protected with health insurance – however, the sad reality is that many in our state do not have health insurance coverage. All ambulance workers and volunteer firefighters should be aware of this new law and apply for coverage,” said the assemblywoman.
Chapter 71 of the Laws of 2010 allow all municipalities to offer affordable health insurance to volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers, including the New York State Health Insurance Plan, which nearly 900 local governments currently offer their employees (who were excluded from a similar amendment passed in 2008). Payment for the entire cost of the insurance coverage would be the responsibility of the volunteer; however, the cost for insurance through local governments, especially if the insurance is NYSHIP, is much lower than what a volunteer firefighter would pay for a private policy.
Fire companies should contact the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY), by calling toll free 1-800-232-7692 or e-mailing FASNY@FASNY.com, or NYSHIP’s website (through the state Department of Civil Service’s website at www.cs.state.ny.us) for more information on how to obtain coverage. The law, supported by FASNY, also is expected to help attract new recruits to join volunteer fire companies, a problem many companies across the state recently have had.
Assemblywoman Rabbitt stated, “There are nearly five times as many volunteer firefighters than career firefighters and another 24,000 emergency medical service volunteers, technicians and paramedics. All risk the ultimate sacrifice and all deserve to be covered. I am proud to have supported this measure and that it has become law.”