Starting Tuesday, about 8,000 temporary federal firefighters are now eligible for health insurance.
The firefighters previously weren’t covered by federal health insurance because they are temporary seasonal employees. Until Monday, federal personnel rules barred such employees from buying into federal health insurance plans.
Temporary seasonal firefighters make up more than half of the 15,000 wildland firefighters on the federal payroll this busy wildfire season.
President Barack Obama directed that rule be changed after several news stories in a variety of publications about the firefighters’ dilemma.
The President released this statement Tuesday:
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. Each day, these Americans put themselves in grave danger to save the lives of people they never met, which is why I directed my administration to ensure that our nation’s firefighters can count on the care and protection they need.