HOUSE BILL 495
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2023
Tara L. Lujan and Joshua N. Hernandez and Cynthia Borrego and Janelle Anyanonu
RELATING TO PUBLIC SAFETY; PROVIDING DISBURSEMENTS TO FIREFIGHTERS FOR OUT-OF-POCKET HEALTH CARE COSTS; CREATING A FUND.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. [NEW MATERIAL] FIREFIGHTER HEALTH CARE ASSISTANCE FUND CREATED--HEALTH CARE ASSISTANCE STIPEND DISBURSEMENT--REPORTING.--
A. The "firefighter health care assistance fund" is created in the state treasury. The fund consists of money appropriated by the legislature, federal money granted to the state for purposes of the fund, income from investment of the fund and money otherwise accruing to the fund. Money in the fund shall not revert to any other fund at the end of a fiscal year. The homeland security and emergency management department shall administer the fund to provide:
(1) health care assistance disbursements for cost sharing for firefighters working at a fire department; and
(2) support for disbursement administration, processes and reporting compliance.
B. Money in the fund shall be disbursed on warrants signed by the secretary of finance and administration pursuant to vouchers signed by the secretary of homeland security and emergency management or the secretary's authorized representative.
C. Contingent on the completion of reporting requirements provided in Subsection E of this section, the homeland security and emergency management department shall determine and distribute annually to a fire department the amount necessary to provide health care assistance disbursements to firefighters. A fire department shall expend funding received for no other purpose than allowed by this section, and any unexpended balance received by a fire department pursuant to this section at the end of a fiscal year shall revert to the firefighter health care assistance fund. The homeland security and emergency management department shall monitor the use of funding and ensure the proper reversion to the firefighter health care assistance fund.
D. A firefighter shall receive reimbursement of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000) per year for cost-sharing expenses; provided that the firefighter submits documentation of the firefighter's eligible cost-sharing expenses.
E. To receive funding pursuant to Subsection C of this section, a fire department shall make a request to the homeland security and emergency management department prior to June 1 of each year, and in that request, the fire department shall report the following:
(1) the number of firefighters employed by the department in the last fiscal year; and
(2) relevant information about each type of health coverage plan offered by the fire department, including cost-sharing information and eligible expenses.
F. The homeland security and emergency management department shall:
(1) provide forms, standards, procedures and related training to fire departments as necessary for the fire department to report information about firefighter cost-sharing expenses;
(2) maintain the privacy and security of information in accordance with applicable state and federal laws; and
(3) adopt and promulgate rules as necessary to implement the provisions of this section.
G. The homeland security and emergency management department may waive reporting pursuant to Subsection E of this section; provided that the department provides an explanation of its decision in writing.
H. The homeland security and emergency management department shall submit an annual report providing information collected pursuant to Subsection E of this section to the governor and the legislature no later than December 15 of each year.
I. As used in this section:
(1) "cost sharing" means a copayment, coinsurance, deductible or any other form of financial obligation of a covered person other than a premium or a share of a premium, or any combination of any of these financial obligations, as defined by the terms of a group or blanket health insurance policy, health care plan or certificate of health insurance;
(2) "fire department" means an organization of a county or municipality that employs firefighters that is entitled to distribution from the fire protection fund and is capable of providing fire suppression and related activities; and
(3) "firefighter" means a person who is a full-time salaried public employee of a fire department who provides fire suppression services involved in controlling and suppressing fires and who is exposed to the dangers of heat, flames, smoke and other products of combustion, explosion or structural collapse in the person's employment with the fire department.
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