OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5075

AN ACT CONCERNING DISABILITY INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR UNIFORMED MEMBERS OF FIRE DEPARTMENTS WHO ARE OTHERWISE INELIGIBLE FOR WORKERS' COMPENSATION BENEFITS FOR CERTAIN TYPES OF CANCER.

SUMMARY:

This bill requires the state, by January 1, 2017, to establish a firefighters' cancer benefit program that procures a disability insurance policy to provide benefits for firefighters with certain cancers. It also establishes various eligibility requirements for firefighters to receive benefits under the program. The bill does not specify (1) what type of benefits the program or policy must provide (e.g., medical or wage replacement benefits), (2) the benefit rate (100% reimbursement or some lesser amount), (3) the benefit's duration, or (4) which state agency must administer the program.

The bill also expands a reporting requirement for fire chiefs and local fire marshals to include certain information about the firefighters present at each fire, explosion, or other fire emergency and their exposure to heat, radiation, and carcinogens.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The requirement for the state to establish a cancer benefit program and procure a disability insurance policy is effective upon passage. The provisions on eligibility and reporting requirements are effective October 1, 2016.

ELIGIBILITY

The bill makes uniformed members of paid municipal or volunteer fire departments eligible for the program's benefits if:

1. their death or disability (temporary or permanent, total or partial) was caused by Kohler's Disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, or any cancer condition affecting their brain or digestive, endocrine, or urinary systems;

2. they passed a physical exam when they began serving, and in each subsequent year, that did not reveal any evidence of or propensity for cancer;

3. they never smoked or used any cigarettes or other tobacco products as defined in law;

4. they worked for at least five consecutive years after October 1, 2016, as a certified interior structural firefighter at a municipal or volunteer fire department at the time the cancer was discovered or should have been discovered (i.e., no firefighters will be eligible for benefits until October 1, 2021); and

5. the cancer is a type known to result from exposure to heat, radiation, or a known or suspected carcinogen, as determined by the International Agency for Research on Cancer or the National Toxicology Program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The bill also requires firefighters receiving benefits to have annual physical exams.

FIRE CHIEF REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

The law requires fire chiefs or local fire marshals to submit quarterly reports to the state fire marshal with certain information on each fire, explosion, or other fire emergency (“fire”) in their jurisdiction. The bill requires these reports to include the (1) name of each certified interior structural firefighter in a municipal or volunteer fire department who was present at each fire and exposed to the fire's heat, radiation, or a known or suspected carcinogen and (2) duration of each firefighter's exposure.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Labor and Public Employees Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

13

Nay

0

(02/23/2016)