Thursday, March 8, 2012
The Kansas Senate has passed a bill that would continue health insurance coverage for families of fallen firefighters.
Senate Bill 250 requires health premiums for a surviving spouse to continue to be paid for up to 18 months, or until the spouse remarries or reaches age 65. Dependent children will be covered for 18 months, or until the child reaches age 18. A child who reaches age 18, but is enrolled full-time in an accredited high school or postsecondary educational institution, will continue to receive coverage for up to 18 months or until the child reaches age 24.
Under current law, the surviving spouse of a firefighter killed in duty or from the effects of injuries received while on duty is eligible for a death benefit through the Firefighters Relief Fund.
Wichita Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau introduced the bill in memory of Captain Urban Eck. The Wichita firefighter died as a result of battling an apartment fire in January of 2010.
“While this bill doesn’t begin to repay the debt our state owes to Captain Eck, or to any of our brave firefighters, it’s my hope that we can at least provide some stability to their families during a time of need,” Faust-Goudeau said.
Twenty-two Kansas firefighters have died in the line of duty since 2000, most recently in January 2011.
Senators Allen Schmidt of Hays, and Dick Kelsey of Goddard co-sponsored the bill. The measure now moves to the House for consideration.