Cancer Program

Put Your Firefighters First

In 2007, statutory changes in Colorado presumed cancer to be a workers’ compensation issue for firefighters. The intent was to ensure quality care for the state’s fire service professionals. But for firefighters affected by cancer, this often meant long legal battles and invasive medical inquiries to obtain benefits.

Ten years later, Governor Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 17-214, which lets fire departments sidestep the 2007 law and ensure the kind of quality care their firefighters deserve. This bill allows fire departments to join the Colorado Firefighter Benefits Trust’s Cancer Program and move cancer out of workers’ compensation and move into an alternative program.

In 2021, the Trust reached another milestone by adding breast cancer coverage for all firefighters. This decision helps promote inclusivity in Colorado’s fire service by recognizing the percentage of female firefighters have increased in the industry from 2% to 7%. To learn more, click here.

In 2022, the Trust added thyroid cancer to its list of covered cancers. For more information, click here.



ADVANTAGES FOR FIREFIGHTERS

  • No more long waits for benefits – Our benefits kick in upon diagnosis and payment is dispensed within ten days of receipt of all required completed documentation. No more waiting for inquiries, no more court battles.
  • Scaled awards based on condition – Firefighters will receive payments based on the type and stage of their cancer, not based on court rulings
  • Recognition of service – Under this program, cancer will be considered a line of duty condition
  • Tax-free benefits – Except rehabilitation payments, awards in the Cancer program are not taxable


ADVANTAGES FOR FIRE DEPARTMENTS

  • Cap on Liabilities – Participation places a $250,000 per claim payout up to ten years after service, rather than the unlimited cap on workers’ compensation
  • Lower Workers’ Compensation Rates – In the long term, as cancer claims fall off your experience, lowering your claims frequency and reducing your rates
  • Improved Employee Relations – This improves relations between firefighters and management


ELIGIBILITY

In order for an employee to qualify for benefits, the following conditions must be met:

Full-time career firefighters:

  • At least five years of continuous*, employment in the fire service**
  • A medical exam is required after the start of employment but prior to a claim
  • Be diagnosed with cancer before ten (10) years after the end of their employment with the fire department

Part-time career firefighters:

  • At least ten years of continuous employment in the fire service**
  • A medical exam is required after the start of employment but prior to a claim
  • Be diagnosed with cancer before ten (10) years after the end of their employment with the fire department
  • Maintain at least 36 hours of training per year

Volunteer firefighters:

  • At least ten years of continuous active duty in the fire service**
  • A medical exam is required after the start of employment but prior to a claim
  • Be diagnosed with cancer before ten (10) years after the end of their service with the fire department
  • Maintain at least 36 hours of training per year

* A break in service of no more than one year will not be considered a break in continuous employment, though said period will not count as part of the required five years of service

** Time spent in any employment status contribute, on a percentage basis, to a firefighter’s total eligibility. For example, if a firefighter had:

  • 3 years of volunteer service (30% of the 10 years required for volunteer firefighters)
  • 2 years of part-time employment (20% of the 10 years required for part-time firefighters)
  • 2 years of full-time employment (40% of the 5 years required for full-time firefighters)
Then the firefighter would be at a sum of 90% eligibility and does not yet qualify for benefits. Contact us for more information or to discuss individual cases.



BENEFITS

A diagnosis of cancer is considered one of the most stressful things a person can experience. Our program provides your firefighters with peace of mind by helping cover the myriad expenses of battling cancer.

Our program provides benefits upon diagnosis of brain, digestive, genitourinary, hematological, and skin cancers. Effective January 21, 2021, breast cancer coverage is added to our program to provide similar benefits upon diagnosis. Effective July 1, 2022, thyroid cancer coverage is added to our program.



COST

Employee type
Annual Cost*
Full-time firefighter (see definition)
$374/person
Part-time firefighter (see definition)
$130/person
Volunteer firefighter
$130/person

Firefighter is defined as: An active employee of an employer who regularly works and whose duties are directly involved with the provision of fire protection services and who is not a volunteer firefighter.

Participating workers’ compensation providers include the Colorado Special Districts Property and Liability Pool. Please contact your workers’ compensation provider for additional information.

If your department is interested in obtaining coverage, click here to request a quote.



CLAIMS INFORMATION

Coverage Year
Total Incurred
Claims Count
2017-2018
$294,703
20
2018-2019
$789,789
30
2019-2020
$148,860
36
2020-2021
$668,115
23
2021-2022
$837,300
45
2022-2023
$543,400
30


Type of Cancer
Claims Incurred
Claims Count
Brain
$9,810
2
Digestive
$1,339,146
16
Genitourinary
$1,301,735
38
Hematological
$308,133
8
Not Covered
$16,795
8
Skin
$249,560
109
Thyroid
$21,971
2
Breast
$35,016
1


LOSS STRATIFICATION

$ Band
Number of Claims
$4,000
91
$4,000 – $10,000
29
$10,000 – $50,000
21
$50,000 – $250,000
13
$250,000
0
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