The Public Safety Employee Benefits Act (“PSEBA”) provides important benefits to eligible first responders who suffer the misfortune of being catastrophically injured in the line of duty. PSEBA (820 ILCS 320/1) is an Illinois law which provides for the payment of the full premium of an employer’s health insurance plan for any firefighter or police officer who suffers a catastrophic injury or is killed in the line of duty. This benefit is also provided for the injured or deceased employee’s spouse and any dependent children.
Historically the statute has been silent regarding what specific health plan must be provided. Reviewing courts confirmed that under the law, all which was required was for employers to provide their “basic” health plan to PSEBA beneficiaries. As a result, it has become common for municipalities to attempt to minimize their exposure by offering substandard health plans and characterizing these plans as “basic” plans. As a result, many disabled first responders will not accept the substandard coverage, and simply forego benefits under PSEBA. However, effective January 1, 2024, municipalities will no longer be able to utilize these strategies.
Governor Pritzker has signed into law an amendment to the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act (“PSEBA”), which will now require municipalities to offer and provide any health insurance plan which is available to other employees. Public Act 103-0340 has been signed into law, which now requires a municipality to offer the choice of any health insurance plan available to currently employed full-time law enforcement, correctional or correctional probation officers, or firefighters. The text of the amendment can be found here.
This change in the statute will certainly benefit many disabled police officers and firefighters across the state, but it remains unclear exactly how municipalities will interpret the change in law and attempt to navigate employee benefits. If you have questions, you should immediately contact Brent Eames for a consultation to discuss your options.
Eames Law Group, Ltd. never stops fighting for our clients, and we will aggressively push cases to trial in order to obtain justice when insurance companies attempt to trample on the rights of our clients. If an insurance company has denied your work comp claim or refused to pay work comp benefits, you owe it to yourself to contact one of the best work comp attorneys in Chicago, to discuss your rights. Our firm has been elected to state leadership positions in the area of work comp law, and frequently lectures to other attorneys regarding law, and trial strategies in Illinois work comp cases.
The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact an attorney at Eames Law Group, Ltd.