Category: Archive

Health cover offers comfort to 9/11 families

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

“These families have been handing over their bills to the Red Cross, but that’s about to run out,” according to Bill Doyle, whose son Joey died in the World Trade Center.
Doyle is one of a group of relatives who have developed a health insurance plan specifically for families who were dependent on Sept. 11 victims.
In the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks, the American Red Cross set up “Working Days,” a scheme which financed an extended version of COBRA, a Government-funded program that offers group-rated insurance to people who lose their cover unexpectedly.
But that scheme will finish at the end of this year, leaving up to 1,000 families without health cover, Doyle estimates.
“These families will soon have to shop for new policies,” he said, speaking to the Echo from his home on Staten Island.
“I got a call yesterday from one family who were quoted $3,200 by an insurance company in New Jersey.”
Working with fellow activists Elizabeth Watson and Jennifer Jacobs, former Wall Street broker Doyle spent three years negotiating the scheme with Group Health Insurance. He said it is a strictly non-profit plan.
“I’m not even eligible for the plan, we just want to offer some comfort to other families who have suffered,” said Doyle, who traces his roots back to Co. Cork.
The scheme offers health insurance cover to a family with one or two children at a cost of $736 per month.
“Now there’s an affordable health care place for these families,” he said.
“It will save them 50 to 70 percent on what they’d be paying if they went and shopped for their own plan. Families would be more or less recognized as employees by the State under this scheme.”
At present, over 100 families are involved in the scheme, which has been running for almost a year. However, Doyle said there are many families who may not be aware that they are eligible.
Some companies at the World Trade Center have subsidized cover for their employees’ families. But the length of cover varies, depending on the company’s generosity.
Bond trading firm Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost over 650 employees, has agreed to pay insurance costs for their families until 2011.
But at companies like financial services firm Marsh McLennan, which lost almost 300 employees during Sept. 11, cover will soon expire. They are advocating this plan to families of deceased employees.
“Some families are still covered because of the generosity of companies. Whenever their plan runs out, they’re eligible for our group plan,” said Doyle.
“It is already low-cost and I’m trying to negotiate it down. There’s no pre-existing condition and its open ended. There’s no lapse of insurance when they transfer to our group. Any family who was dependent on someone who died during 9/11 is entitled to this.”
For more information, contact Bill Doyle at 718-948-2538 or email wdoyle5156@aol.com.

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