State Senator Mike Nozzolio has announced that important legislation he supported to extend affordable health insurance to volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers has been signed into law by Governor Paterson. The legislation allows volunteers to receive affordable coverage through their municipality, including those local governmental entities offering their employers health insurance through the New York State Health Insurance Plan (NYSHIP).
“Our brave volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers represent the very best of our communities and the very best of New York State. They put their lives at risk on a daily basis to ensure our safety and well-being and serve as our first line of response when disaster strikes,” said Senator Nozzolio. “I was proud to vote to enact this legislation, which will keep health care affordable for the men and women who selflessly volunteer to serve their communities.”
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.
“As some local fire departments are facing shortages of volunteers, this legislation will help in recruiting.” Senator Nozzolio said. “Currently, many of our volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers are without insurance or paying very expensive premiums. This legislation will reduce their health care expenses and recognize the important public service these individuals provide.”