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Bills Address Cancer Coverage for Firefighters

Thursday, January 19, 2023 | 0

Lawmakers in three states this week filed proposed legislation addressing cancer diagnoses for professional and volunteer firefighters.

Nebraska state Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh, D-Omaha, on Tuesday introduced Legislature Bill 501, which would recognize that cancer resulting in either temporary disability, permanent disability or death is an occupational disease for professional and volunteer firefighters.

Firefighters would have to demonstrate that they were exposed to known carcinogens for cancer claims to be compensable.

The measure would create a rebuttable presumption that a firefighter’s cancer arose out of and in the course of employment when diagnosed during employment. And it would create a rebuttable presumption that a retired firefighter’s cancer was also connected to employment if diagnosed within a specific time frame after retirement.

Connecticut state Rep. Rachel Khanna, D-Greenwich, on Wednesday filed House Bill 5857, which would make cancer in professional and volunteer firefighters a presumptive line-of-duty injury or cause of death and would make firefighters eligible for workers’ comp and other benefits.

Firefighters would need a minimum of five years of service, have no history of cancer and be nonsmokers to qualify for the presumption.

On Monday, Mississippi state Rep. Jeff Hale, R-DeSoto, introduced House Bill 784, which would amend the state’s First Responders Health and Safety Act to provide cancer benefits for first responders as an alternative to pursuing a workers’ compensation claim.

The bill would establish that cancer benefits for first responders would be paid by the Attorney General’s Office from funds appropriated by the Legislature and not through money from insurance policies.

The bill would also repeal a current law that says the cost of purchasing insurance policies that provide for cancer coverage must be borne by the first responders’ employers.

Business Insurance is a sister publication of WorkCompCentral. More stories are here.


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