Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 3

    February Session, 2016

Substitute House Bill No. 5075

House of Representatives, March 3, 2016

The Committee on Labor and Public Employees reported through REP. TERCYAK of the 26th Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

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.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 31-294j of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) For the purpose of adjudication of claims for payment of benefits under the provisions of this chapter, a uniformed member of a paid municipal or volunteer fire department, a regular member of a paid municipal police department, a constable, as defined in section 31-294i, or a member of a volunteer ambulance service shall be eligible for such benefits for any disease arising out of and in the course of employment, including, but not limited to, hepatitis, meningococcal meningitis, tuberculosis, Kahler's Disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and prostate or testicular cancer that results in death or temporary or permanent total or partial disability.

(b) (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, on and after the date that the state establishes a firefighters' cancer benefit program pursuant to section 3 of this act, a uniformed member of a paid municipal or volunteer fire department shall be eligible for benefits under such cancer benefit program for the following types of cancer: Kahler's Disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or any condition of cancer affecting the brain, digestive system, endocrine system or urinary system that results in the death or temporary or permanent total or partial disability of such uniformed member, provided (A) such uniformed member successfully passed a physical examination upon entry into such service that failed to reveal any evidence of such cancer or a propensity for such cancer, (B) such uniformed member has submitted to annual physical examinations subsequent to entry into such service that have failed to reveal any evidence of such cancer or a propensity for such cancer, (C) such uniformed member has never been a smoker and has not used any cigarettes, as defined in section 12-285, or any other tobacco products, as defined in section 12-330a, (D) such uniformed member has worked for not less than five consecutive years after the effective date of this section as a certified interior structural firefighter at a municipal or volunteer fire department at the time such cancer is discovered, or should have been discovered, and (E) such cancer is one that is 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 United States Department of Health and Human Services.

(2) Any uniformed member of a paid municipal or volunteer fire department applying for benefits pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection shall be required to submit to annual physical examinations as a condition of receiving such benefits.

Sec. 2. Section 29-303 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

The fire chief or local fire marshal with jurisdiction over a town, city, borough or fire district where a fire, explosion or other fire emergency occurs shall furnish the State Fire Marshal a report [of] that shall include (1) all the facts relating to its cause, its origin, the kind, the estimated value and ownership of the property damaged or destroyed, (2) the name of each certified interior structural firefighter at a municipal or volunteer fire department who was (A) present at such fire, explosion or other fire emergency, and (B) exposed to heat, radiation or a known or suspected carcinogen as a result of such fire, explosion or other fire emergency, including the duration of each such firefighters' exposure, and (3) such other information as called for by the State Fire Marshal on forms furnished by the State Fire Marshal, or in an electronic format prescribed by the State Fire Marshal. The fire chief or fire marshal may also submit reports regarding other significant fire department response to such fire or explosion, and such reports may be filed monthly but commencing January 1, 2008, such reports shall be filed not less than quarterly.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective from passage) Not later than January 1, 2017, the state shall establish a firefighters' cancer benefit program. Through such program, the state shall procure a disability insurance policy to provide benefits, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (b) of section 31-294j of the general statutes, as amended by this act, to certain uniformed members of paid municipal or volunteer fire departments who suffer from certain conditions of cancer.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2016

31-294j

Sec. 2

October 1, 2016

29-303

Sec. 3

from passage

New section

LAB

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.

OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 17 $

FY 18 $

The State

Potential Cost

See Below

See Below

Municipal Impact:

Municipalities

Effect

FY 17 $

FY 18 $

All Municipalities

Potential Cost

See Below

See Below

Explanation

The bill may result in a cost to the state, if the state is able to provide the disability insurance policy required by the bill. It is uncertain if the state has the authority to provide such policy, as the state is not the firefighters' employer. In addition, participation in the program for eligible members is voluntary. The average annual premium for a group disability policy in 2013 was $226 per life.1 This average premium may be understated for the population covered by the bill. There are approximately 26,650 firefighters, 22,225 (83%) are volunteers and 4,425 (17%) are career firefighters.2 If 50% of the career firefighters chose to participate, with 100% of premiums paid by the program, the annualized cost would be approximately $500,025. It is uncertain if any volunteer firefighters would participate in the program as disability insurance provides wage replacement only and it is not specified what would be considered wages for this group.

The bill does not specify (1) the terms of the policy (e.g. benefit duration or percentage of wage replacement), (2) what if any other benefits the program may provide, (3) which state agency will administer the program, and (4) who will cover the cost of the premiums or administration of the program. The costs to the state may be mitigated depending on who bears the cost of the premiums and any administrative expenses. There may be a cost to municipalities depending on how the program is implemented and who is responsible for the premiums.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to changes in premiums charged for the program, any increases in administrative expenses, and changes in number of participants.

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:

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)

TOP

1 U.S. Group Disability and Group Term Life Market Survey. (2013) Source: http://media.genre.com/documents/surveylhgdgtmarketsum1404-en.pdf

2 Source: Connecticut State Fire Fighters' Association, members as of 2014.