State lawmaker wants to help firefighters cover the cost of cancer care

State lawmaker wants to help firefighters cover the cost of cancer care

. - Our On Your Side investigation earlier this year revealed cancer rates among firefighters are going through the roof and it can be a little difficult for some first responders to pay for the care they need.

There could be some much-needed help on the way.

House fires now burn faster and hotter than ever. The hidden health hazards that come along with that are burning through fire departments around the country, according to a report from the International Association of Fire Fighters that says cancer rates among firefighters are skyrocketing.

Randy Wiggins was diagnosed with colon cancer last year. It came as somewhat of a surprise to this 45-year-old Hoover firefighter. He's now in remission and feels his diagnosis could be job-related.

"It kind of makes you wonder that. No family history or anything like that. With all the materials that are made now. It's a lot worse that what it was 20 years ago," Wiggins said.

Randy's insurance took care of the costs but for some firefighters and retirees, that's not always the case.

"There's nothing out there that helps them with the cost of cancer, fighting cancer that are job-related," Rep. Tommy Hanes of North Alabama said.

State Representative Haynes wants to change that. He pre-filed a bill that would allow some to receive benefits to cover their care.

"What the bill does is it reimburses them their out of pocket expenses of what their insurance or Medicare doesn't cover," Hanes said.

Hanes, a retired firefighter, says the bill is the least he can do to help first responders.

"These men and women, they protect us on a daily basis and they deserve the help and that's why I'm bringing this bill," Hanes added.

Here's the text of pre-filed House Bill 41:

Firefighters, retired, occupational disease of cancer, supplemental insurance coverage or reimbursement of actual expenses for medical treatment not covered by health ins. or Medicare, provided for if diagnosed within ten years of retirement, under certain conditions.

We'll keep you updated on the progress of the bill once the Legislature is in session.

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