Health Services and Insurance for Volunteer Firefighters and Ambulance Companies
The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S5111) sponsored by Senator Neil D. Breslin (D-Albany), Chair of the Insurance Committee, which recognizes and rewards men and women who volunteer in their local fire or ambulance companies by permitting any public corporation to extend health services and insurance to volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers.
This act will allow volunteers – many of whom are without insurance or paying very expensive premiums on their own – to receive affordable coverage through their municipality.
Currently, NYSHIP is offered in approximately 900 municipalities across the state.
“Volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers provide a valuable service to their communities and it is appropriate that their public service be recognized,” Senator Breslin said. “Some fire departments and districts are facing recruitment shortages, this law would assist in recruiting men and women who wish to serve their communities, and help keep health care affordable.”
Even though emergency calls are up, the number of volunteer firefighters are down. Volunteer firefighters make up the largest number of firefighters in New York State. According to the Office of Fire and Prevention in 2009 there were approximately 96,000 volunteer firefighters in New York State compared to 18,500 career firefighters.
You can read more about this bill, including its full text at our Open Legislation site: