Oaks: Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Personnel Now Eligible to Join Local Health Insurance Plans

May 20, 2010

Assemblyman Bob Oaks (R,C-Macedon) today announced that a new law he co-sponsored will allow local governments to offer insurance coverage to volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers at the volunteer’s expense.

“Allowing volunteer firefighters and emergency personnel not covered by other health insurance to access group health coverage is something for which I have fought long and hard,” stated Oaks. “I introduced similar legislation several years ago to help local fire departments recruit and retain volunteers. I am proud to see it finally become law.”

This legislation amends a bill passed in 2008 and makes technical corrections so that municipalities participating in NYSHIP are eligible to offer the benefits. It also clarifies that local municipalities are not forced into participating.

“The amendments implemented in this legislation are critical to local governments,” said Oaks. “This law ensures that municipalities have the option to allow local volunteer firefighters and emergency personnel to join their municipal health plan. This legislation also allows local governments to make the decisions that best fit the needs of their communities. It is critical that local municipalities are not burdened with any more unfunded mandates by state government.”

The new law took effect earlier this month.