Village plans to offer health insurance to firefighters

The Village of Rhinebeck is working on a plan to offer volunteer firefighters the option to purchase health insurance through the municipal health insurance program.

“We have been approached by three members of the volunteer fire department who have expressed an interest to become involved in our municipal health insurance program,” said Deputy Mayor Wayne Rifenburgh.

New York State law allows village boards to decide whether to offer that option.

“The volunteer firefighters who want to become involved in the municipal program would pay whatever fee that we are charged,” added Rifenburgh.

By joining the municipal program, firefighters would have the opportunity to get health insurance at a lower rate.

“We need to establish some type of protocol or policy that is going to detail the village’s responsibilities and the firefighter’s responsibilities with regard to payment, etc,” said Mayor James Reardon. “The biggest concern, of course, always for us is going to be that we now managing a plan that someone has to give us money for. We have the ability with employees to deduct whatever we need to…. [but] with a volunteer, of course, we don’t have that capacity.”

The village plan would limit signups to a specific enrollment period each year and would require the applicant be a firefighter in good standing and not probationary to qualify.

“I think it’s a good idea,” added Trustee Brant Neuneker. “We can make it more attractive for us to get volunteer firefighters, and that’s important.”

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