Ramos Supports Health Care Benefits for Volunteer Emergency Service Workers

June 16, 2008
Assemblyman Phil Ramos (D-Central Islip) announced Assembly passage of legislation he supported allowing volunteer firefighters to participate in certain public employee health insurance plans (A.7699). This bill will give volunteer firefighters the health benefits they deserve while helping firefighting companies better recruit and retain personnel.

“Volunteer firefighters provide a critical service to our communities,” said Ramos, who is the chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Volunteer Emergency Services. “They should be recognized and rewarded for the significant role they play by granting them the option of joining low-cost local health care plans.”

In addition to their time on duty, volunteer emergency service workers must meet ever-increasing training requirements, said Ramos, a former emergency medical technician himself.

Current state law contains no program providing volunteer emergency workers health insurance. This legislation gives these workers the opportunity to have health insurance without costing the state or local municipalities any extra. Like any other employee in the plan, the costs would be borne by the volunteer firefighters.

“This bill is a great way to show the volunteer firefighters in our community that we appreciate the risks they take on our behalf. I urge the Senate and governor to pass this common-sense legislation, so brave men and women who voluntarily face danger to keep our communities safe have access to health insurance,” Ramos said.