The bill creates the law enforcement officers' and firefighters' continuation of benefits board (board) in the department of the treasury. The board is required to review submissions from counties or municipalities offering law enforcement or fire protection service or any special district or county improvement district in the state offering fire protection service (employers) for the continuation of medical and dental benefits for the dependants of any employee who dies in a work-related death and to oversee the payment of such benefits. The board is composed of the state treasurer, the executive director of the department of public safety, and the executive director of the fire and police pension association, or their designees.
The bill specifies that any employer may enter into an agreement with the board to make quarterly contributions to the law enforcement officers' and firefighters' continuation of benefits fund (fund), which is created in the bill, on behalf of each person it employs whose duties are directly involved with the provision of law enforcement or fire protection. Only employers that make contributions to the fund are eligible to have the continuation of benefits for the dependants of an employee who died in a work-related death paid from the fund.
The board shall determine the amount of the contribution required by each employer and shall determine the method by which each employer shall pay the quarterly contribution to the fund. The bill does not prohibit an employer that chooses not to make contributions to the fund from independently paying for the continuation of benefits for the dependents of any person it employs and who dies in a work-related death.
The bill specifies that the dependents of an employee who dies in a work-related death are automatically qualified for the continuation of medical and dental benefits through the employer's medical and dental benefit coverage for 12 months from the end of the month in which the work-related death occurred, so long as the dependents had medical or dental benefits through the employer at the time of the employee's work-related death. The board will pay the cost of providing medical or dental benefits on behalf of the employee's dependents from the fund only if the employer has an agreement with the board to make contributions to the fund.
At any time, if an employee dies from a work-related death and the money in the fund is insufficient to cover the costs of continuation of benefits for the dependents of the employee, the bill directs the state treasurer to advance sufficient money from the state treasury to cover such costs and to be repaid by the board on a schedule to be set by the board.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)