Firefighters' health care bill advances

TRENTON - A bill spurred by the 2014 death of a Cinnaminson firefighter cleared an Assembly panel last week.

The legislation, backed by South Jersey lawmakers Troy Singleton and Herb Conaway, would continue health coverage for the families of firefighters and first responders, even if their death did not occur in the line of duty.

In November 2014, Cinnaminson Fire Lt. Chris Hunter died of a cardiac event in his home shortly after his shift ended. But because his death was not considered in the line of duty, his family was not eligible for continued medical coverage.

Bill (A-319) offers families the opportunity to apply for reimbursement of COBRA costs for six months, if the dependents were covered through the State Health Benefits Program or a similar program offered through the responder's employer.

The bill was advanced by the Assembly Labor Committee.

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