Deuel County Refuses to Pay for Deputy’s Health Insurance After He’s Shot
Deuel County Deputy Mike Hutchinson was shot four times on December 3, 2015 while serving an arrest warrant. Deuel County is now refusing to pay Hutchinson’s health insurance.
Tuesday, Hutchinson, his family, and their attorney met with the county commissioners in hopes they would pay for equivalent health coverage similar to the one he had before, whether it’s through COBRA or the Healthcare Marketplace, until he can return to work.
The COBRA fee is about $1,500 a month.
Hutchinson says he’s quickly finding out any officer or first responder who’s hurt on the job could face the same dilemma.
“I put my life on the line. The same the sheriff made a commitment to me that they would provide me. The county also made that commitment to provide me with insurance. There was no justification or anything that said, “oh by the way if you get shot in the line of duty we’re going to pull of your benefits. So your commitment has been let down but I left my blood up there in that hill that’s the commitment I made. Your commitment on your end is not honored and all I am asking you to do, is honor it. I understand that you got new commissioners and you got commissioners where this has never happened as a whole in this community. I has happened. I’m just asking you do what is right. I’m not asking anything that is above and beyond,” said Hutchinson.
Currently, the county is refusing to pay for Deputy Hutchinson’s health insurance because they are not legally obligated to do so. It is unlikely that the county commissioners will change their minds unless the public outcry forces them to reconsider.
Do you think that you would be covered under similar circumstances? You might want to double check. Many larger agencies are self-insured and will continue to pay employees their salary and benefits if they get injured, however most agencies won’t. Once your sick leave and workers’ comp stops paying your agency for the hours that you aren’t working, then you will probably not be considered a full-time employee, and be unable to receive benefits. You can always buy your own short term disability insurance to protect your family in case you are injured, but the cost may be more than you can afford on your police salary.
Let the Deuel County Commissioners know what you think about this: http://www.co.deuel.ne.us/webpages/board/board_members.html
There is a GoFundMe page for Deputy Hutchinson here: https://www.gofundme.com/mikehutch