Legislation that would permit the inclusion of volunteer firefighters and other emergency responders into the small employer health benefits plan statutes passed the Senate on Monday by a vote of 36-0.
The bill was sponsored by Senate Community and Urban Affairs Chair Senator Troy Singleton, D- 7th District, and Senator Bob Andrzejczak D-1st District.
“Currently, volunteer first responders are not included in the definition of eligible employees to receive health insurance benefits through small employer health plans,” said Singleton in a statement. “The bill seeks to resolve this conflict between provisions in the statutes by including volunteer firefighters and emergency responders. Our volunteer first responders put their lives on the line for us each and every day, so this is one way we can thank them for their courageous service to us and our communities,” Singleton added.
“The laws surrounding volunteer first responder health care coverage need to be revised to resolve the existing conflicts,” said Andrzejczak. “Municipalities have a duty to provide proper health care coverage to these first responders who have the courage to risk their lives for the community. This ensures that first responders receive the coverage they deserve,” Andrzejczak said.
Senate Bill 2371, would permit the inclusion of volunteer firefighters and other emergency responders within the municipal eligible employee group under the small employer health benefits plan statutes.
Under the bill, the definition of eligible employer in New Jersey Statutes regarding small employer health benefit plans would be revised to include members of a volunteer fire company or an incorporated volunteer first aid, emergency, rescue, or ambulance squad rendering service generally throughout a municipality.