NY State Takes Away Firefighter Benefits
At this past weeks AFDSNY Leadership Summit during the "Attorney's Panel" session, many fire district officials just became aware and learned that the NYS Department of Finance has mandated Insurance carriers to make changes to the supplemental insurance coverage known as “Accident and Health” or “Accident and Sickness” Diane Setter, of the Hometown Insurance Agency authored the following news item which appears in this months "Fire News - Long Island edition". The news item is being republished here with permission of the author. During the panel session, Fire District Officials and Firefighters where urged to contact their elected officials in Albany to tell them to restore the "illness" portion of the supplemental policy coverage.
NY State Takes Away FF Benefits
In October 2017, the New York State Department of Finance notified all Insurance Carriers who write Accident and Health policies for Emergency Service Departments and Fire Districts, that “illness” had to be removed from the policies altogether and that these policies would need to be rewritten. Due to this change, as of May 2018, the supplemental insurance known as “Accident and Health” or “Accident and Sickness” will no longer cover the emergency services of volunteers who contract an illness or have a heart attack in the line of duty.
This coverage supplements the VFBL and adds additional income to the regular $600 per week that a volunteer would receive if they became permanently disabled in the line of duty. The new policy still covers volunteers if they are injured, however, if the volunteer suffers a heart attack in the line of duty, there is no supplemental coverage-- they will only receive $600 per week for lost wages. The death benefit would also be removed for heart attack.
Another situation that would be affected by the change is if a volunteer were to be exposed to an illness like hepatitis or HIV. The NYS Department of Finance made this benefit “impermissible” because they claim that it “plays on people’s fears of contracting particular diseases.” The VFBL would provide the volunteer with $600 per week for lost wages. The Accident & Health policy would no longer provide supplemental coverage.
We have received an overwhelming response from our clients that would like to see the “illness” portion added back to the Accident and Health policies. We are currently coordinating with our state representatives to garner support for this matter. If the change will affect you and your family, please contact your District, Department, or Corps and make your voice heard. Together, we can work to regain this crucial benefit.
click to open pdf - Fire News Article
Hometown Insurance Agency
5 Orville Drive, Bohemia NY 11716
*Republished by Permission of the Author