Posted: Jul 17, 2012 12:53 PM by KPAX News Staff
Updated: Jul 17, 2012 12:57 PM
WASHINGTON, DC- Firefighters working on Montana's wildfires now have access to the same health insurance afforded to full-time federal employees.
About 8,000 temporary firefighters across the United States and their families will be able to use federal health insurance, thanks to a petition drive by a South Dakota hotshot crew.
Temporary firefighters weren't covered before now because under federal rules, seasonal employees can't buy federal insurance plans.
But now at the direction of President Barack Obama, firefighters will have the option to purchase coverage for themselves and their families.
There is a 60 day comment period for the public to provide additional feedback on the new regulations.
The Office of Personnel Management plans to issue additional guidance on enrollment and administration of this regulation to agencies through the Chief Human Capital Officers Council and to agency Benefits Officers through a Benefits Administration Letter.
OPM is also notifying FEHB insurance carriers about the change to expedite access to health care under their health plan enrollment. Click here to the new regulation.
President Obama released a statement following the announcement saying in part, "starting today, the brave men and women of our nation's federal firefighting forces, as well as their families, will have access to the health coverage they deserve. Their heroism in battling the deadly fires that have impacted states across the country this summer inspires us all."