TFR Chief helps create cancer insurance for firefighters
By Linda Green

Chief John Thigpen
Firefighters in Thomson and McDuffie County who are diagnosed with cancer will have firefighter cancer insurance in January that will protect them if they are unable to work and financially support their families.
Thomson Fire Chief John A. Thigpen was among those in the fire service from across the state present to witness Governor Nathan Deal sign a bill making firefighters who contract cancer while on the job eligible for extra health insurance.
Thigpen was a member of the group of firefighters, city and county government associations and insurance representatives that created a firefighter cancer benefit.
The governor signed House Bill 146 on May 4 that requires certified fire departments to offer supplemental insurance policies to pay for cancer treatments incurred in the line of duty.
Beginning Jan. 1, fire departments across the state must buy and maintain sufficient insurance coverage on each firefighter to pay claims for cancer diagnosed after having served 12 consecutive months as a firefighter and the cancer or treatment makes the firefighter unable to work as a firefighter. Thigpen said the cost to a city or county is about $325 a year for each firefighter in a department with no cost to the firefighter.
The supplemental coverage would trigger a lump-sum payment of $25,000 to a firefighter upon diagnosis of fire-service related cancer and provide up to three years of disability payments to firefighters who cannot perform their duties because of illness or treatment.
“This is the result of a lot of people coming together to solve a problem for the betterment of the Fire Service,” Thigpen said. “This is good news for the 30 firefighters in the City of Thomson and the 90 firefighters in McDuffie County.”
One of the pens the governor used to sign the firefighter cancer bill was presented to Thigpen after the signing that occurred at Fire Station 21 in Ellijay.
House Bill 146 is a compromise between firefighter groups, cities, counties and the state, Thigpen said. Last year, Deal vetoed a similar bill that would have made cancer-stricken firefighters eligible for workers compensation.
FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS, see the full story in the May 18, 2017, issue of The McDuffie Progress. To have The McDuffie Progress delivered to your home or business each week, simply call 706-595-1601 to subscribe. Or, follow the link on our home page to subscribe.





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