Tis the season for cheer and…firefighter insurance coverage! Over the next few weeks, press releases announcing cities’ participation in GMA-GIRMA’s firefighters’ cancer benefit program may find their way to your news desks. This is due to the passage of House Bill 146
during the 2017 legislative session, which mandates that cities provide insurance for all firefighters.
All full-time, part-time and volunteer firefighters are eligible for the benefit. The coverage includes a lump sum benefit and a disability benefit for firefighters who are diagnosed with cancer any time after their first year of employment. States nationwide—including New York
—are considering similar firefighter insurance requirements and studying GMA’s as a reference.
GMA’s fully insured program is backed by The Hartford insurance company. All Georgia cities and counties are required to have the benefit in place for firefighters beginning Jan. 1, 2018.
You may also receive copies of resolutions adopted by cities that recognize their commitment their firefighters, and invitations to recognition ceremonies for legislators who worked to craft this legislation. We’ve also encouraged cities participating in our insurance program to be social with Twitter and Facebook announcements and coverage of events.
History of HB 146
HB 146 was a collaborative effort of GMA and the Georgia General Assembly. Gov. Deal vetoed an earlier bill which would have placed firefighter cancer claims in the workers’ compensation system and would have been very costly to local governments. HB 146 provides a more cost-effective way to ensure firefighters have a safety net if diagnosed with cancer.
We are always here if you have any specific questions!