The Louisiana House unanimously voted “Yay” authorizing the state fire marshal to offer group critical illness insurance for volunteer firefighters.
The bill was sent to the Senate Monday where it is also expected to pass.
The Town Talk reports if passed by the Senate, House Bill 460, by Rep. John Berthelot, R-Gonzales, will allow the state fire marshal to pay for the insurance out of the Two Percent Fire Insurance Fund. Volunteer firefighters already have insurance for on-the-job injuries.
Rep. Berthelot recognizes the significant impact volunteer firefighters have the in state.
“What this bill does, it allows us…to buy a cancer policy for the volunteer firefighters,” Berthelot tells The Town Talk. “They fight over 70 percent of the fires in the state of Louisiana.”
Due to the nature of the job, firefighters are at high risk for many serious illnesses.
The critical illness insurance would cover heart and lung disease, strokes and some types of cancer — illnesses related to exposure to smoke, heat and chemicals. A volunteer must have served for five years to qualify for the insurance, according to The Talk Town.
The Talk Town reports a volunteer has 90 days after the end of their membership with a fire company to enroll in the program. If passed by the Senate, the insurance would cover volunteers until they turn 71 years of age.
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