Assemblywoman Galef Announces New Law Allowing Emergency Volunteers To Obtain Benefits

New York’s Courageous Firefighter and Ambulance Volunteers Receive Access to Healthcare Benefits
August 8, 2008

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef announced that Governor Paterson has signed a new law that will allow volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance workers to access the health insurance plan offered to municipal employees.

This bill (A7699/S4617, Chapter 331 of 2008) will permit volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers to purchase health insurance at a much lower cost through their local municipalities. The purpose of this new legislation is to assist volunteer emergency service providers in their efforts to recruit and retain personnel, and to offer affordable healthcare insurance to those that serve their communities in the highest possible way.

This legislation will enhance our local emergency services by providing extra incentives to encourage volunteerism. This law promotes public safety without raising taxes because the total cost of participating in these health services will be borne by the volunteers.

“Volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers provide an essential service to the citizens of New York State,” stated Galef. “These volunteers are especially important to the suburban and rural New York areas because the local governments are unable to afford paid emergency personnel. Without these brave volunteers, many small towns and villages would not be able to provide emergency services without raising taxes. These volunteers are truly devoted to their communities, and must often sacrifice time from their professional and personal lives in order to volunteer. These dedicated volunteers should be recognized and rewarded for the role that they play in our society.”

“This new legislation will provide well-deserved healthcare to the courageous men and women that volunteer for the emergency services in towns across New York. This bill will also help emergency services recruit many needed volunteers across the state,” said Galef.

This bill was signed by Governor Paterson on July 21, 2008.