Volunteer First Responders
Here's the full text of the bill:
A bill [S4617A] that recently passed both houses of the state Legislature and was signed by Gov. David Paterson on Tuesday will give volunteer firefighters and EMTs expanded opportunities to secure health insurance... By allowing volunteer fire and ambulance companies to access the health insurance plan offered to municipal employees, volunteers will be able to purchase health insurance at a group cost.
AN ACT to amend the general municipal law, in relation to the establishment of a volunteer firefighter and ambulance worker health program.That's it. That's the entire law. I'm hunting for Municipal Law Section 92-a. I suppose it has to do with who's eligible for municipal health insurance coverage. But it appears to me that six months from now, volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers can ask the Town to provide health insurance for which the volunteer will pay the full price.
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:
Section 1. Section 92-a of the general municipal law is amended by adding a new subdivision 7 to read as follows:7. The provisions of this section shall apply for coverage of volunteer firefighters, as defined in section three of the volunteer firefighters' benefit law, and volunteer ambulance workers, as defined in subdivision one of section three of the volunteer ambulance workers' benefit law, provided however, that the total cost of participation by such volunteers and their families shall be borne by such volunteers.
Section 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law, provided however, that nothing in this act shall be construed to affect any existing enrollment periods in effect within any political subdivision.
First of all, Town of Dryden employees are all covered by Teamsters health insurance and we're only allowed to cover a limited number of non-Teamster members. Maybe we can work that out with the Teamsters.
Secondly, the Teamsters insurance is pretty expensive. I'll check the rate later today. But it's hundreds of dollars a month. I wonder how many volunteers who need insurance could afford that?
So, it sounds to me like it's up to local government again. Let's find out if providing health insurance would help in recruiting and retaining volunteers. If it will, let's figure out how to do it.