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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XII
MUNICIPALITIES
Chapter 175
FIREFIGHTER PENSIONS
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F.S. 175.401
175.401 Retiree health insurance subsidy.For any municipality, special fire control district, chapter plan, local law municipality, local law special fire control district, or local law plan under this chapter, under the broad grant of home rule powers under the Florida Constitution and chapter 166, municipalities have the authority to establish and administer locally funded health insurance subsidy programs. In addition, special fire control districts may, by resolution, establish and administer locally funded health insurance subsidy programs. Pursuant thereto:
(1) PURPOSE.The purpose of this section is to allow municipalities and special fire control districts the option to use premium tax moneys, as provided for under this chapter, to establish and administer health insurance subsidy programs which will provide a monthly subsidy payment to retired members of any firefighters’ pension trust fund system or plan as provided under this chapter, or to beneficiaries who are spouses or financial dependents entitled to receive benefits under such a plan, in order to assist such retired members or beneficiaries in paying the costs of health insurance.
(2) RETIREE HEALTH INSURANCE SUBSIDY TRUST FUNDS; ESTABLISHMENT AND TERMINATION.
(a) Any municipality or special fire control district having a firefighters’ pension trust fund system or plan as provided under this chapter may, in its discretion, establish by ordinance or resolution, as appropriate, a trust fund to be known as the firefighters’ retiree health insurance subsidy trust fund. This fund may be a separate account established for such purpose in the existing firefighters’ pension fund, provided that all funds deposited in such account are segregated from, and not commingled with, pension funds or other public moneys and that the account otherwise conforms to the requirements of subsection (8). The trust fund shall be used to account for all moneys received and disbursed pursuant to this section.
(b) Prior to the second reading of the ordinance before the municipal legislative body, or of the resolution before the governing body of the special fire control district, an actuarial valuation must be performed by an enrolled actuary as provided in s. 112.63, and copies of the valuation and the proposed implementing ordinance or resolution shall be furnished to the division.
(c) The subsidy program may, at the discretion of the municipal governing body, be permanently discontinued by municipal ordinance, and at the discretion of the governing body of a special fire control district may be permanently discontinued by resolution, at any time, subject to the requirements of any applicable collective bargaining agreement, in the same manner and subject to the same conditions established for plan termination and fund distribution under s. 175.361.
(3) FUNDING.Trust funds established pursuant to this section shall be funded in the following manner:
(a) By payment to the fund of an amount equivalent to one-half of the net increase over the previous tax year in the premium tax funds provided for in this chapter, said amount to be established in the implementing ordinance or resolution.
(b) By no less than one-half of 1 percent of the base salary of each firefighter, for so long as the firefighter is employed and covered by a pension plan established pursuant to this chapter. The municipality or special fire control district, with approval of the board of trustees, may increase member contributions if needed to fund benefits greater than the minimums established in this section.
(c) By payment by the municipality or special fire control district, on at least a quarterly basis, of whatever sum is determined necessary to maintain the actuarial soundness of the fund in accordance with s. 112.64.

Such contributions and payments shall be submitted to the board of trustees of the firefighters’ pension trust fund, or the plan trustees in the case of local law plans established under s. 175.351, and deposited in the firefighters’ retiree health insurance subsidy trust fund, in the same manner and subject to the same time constraints as provided under s. 175.131.

(4) ELIGIBILITY FOR RETIREE HEALTH INSURANCE SUBSIDY.A person who has contributed to the retiree health insurance subsidy trust fund and retires under a firefighters’ pension trust fund system or plan as provided under this chapter, including any local law plan as provided under s. 175.351, or a beneficiary who is a spouse or financial dependent entitled to receive benefits under such a plan, is eligible for health insurance subsidy payments provided under this section. However, the fund, with approval of the board of trustees and approval of the municipality or special fire control district, may provide coverage to retirees and beneficiaries when the retirees have not contributed to the fund as provided in subsection (3). Payment of the retiree health insurance subsidy shall be made only after coverage for health insurance for the retiree or beneficiary has been certified in writing to the board of trustees of the firefighters’ pension trust fund.
(5) RETIREE HEALTH INSURANCE SUBSIDY AMOUNT.Beginning on the effective date established in the implementing ordinance or resolution, each eligible retiree, or beneficiary who is a spouse or financial dependent thereof, shall receive a monthly retiree health insurance subsidy payment equal to the aggregate number of years of service, as defined in s. 175.032, completed at the time of retirement multiplied by an amount determined in the implementing ordinance or resolution, but no less than $3 for each year of service. Nothing herein shall be construed to restrict the plan sponsor from establishing, in the implementing ordinance or resolution, a cap of no less than 30 years upon the number of years’ service for which credit will be given toward a health insurance subsidy or a maximum monthly subsidy amount.
(6) PAYMENT OF RETIREE HEALTH INSURANCE SUBSIDY.Beginning on the effective date established in the implementing ordinance or resolution, any monthly retiree health insurance subsidy amount due and payable under this section shall be paid to retired members, or their eligible beneficiaries, by the board of trustees of the firefighters’ pension trust fund, or the plan trustees in the case of local law plans established under s. 175.351, in the same manner as provided by s. 175.071(1)(c) for drafts upon the pension fund.
(7) INVESTMENT OF THE TRUST FUND.The trustees of the firefighters’ pension trust fund, or the plan trustees in the case of local law plans established under s. 175.351, are hereby authorized to invest and reinvest the funds of the firefighters’ retiree health insurance subsidy trust fund in the same manner and subject to the same conditions as apply hereunder to the investment of firefighters’ pension funds under s. 175.071.
(8) DEPOSIT OF HEALTH INSURANCE SUBSIDY FUNDS.All funds of the health insurance subsidy fund may be deposited by the board of trustees with the treasurer of the municipality or special fire control district, acting in a ministerial capacity only, who shall be liable in the same manner and to the same extent as he or she is liable for the safekeeping of funds for the municipality or special fire control district. Any funds so deposited shall be segregated by the treasurer in a separate fund, clearly identified as funds of the health insurance subsidy fund. In lieu thereof, the board of trustees shall deposit the funds of the health insurance subsidy fund in a qualified public depository as defined in s. 280.02, which shall conform to and be bound by the provisions of chapter 280 with regard to such funds. In no case shall the funds of the health insurance subsidy fund be deposited in any financial institution, brokerage house trust company, or other entity that is not a public depository as provided by s. 280.02.
(9) SEPARATION FROM SERVICE; REFUNDS.Any firefighter who terminates employment with a municipality or special fire control district having a retiree health insurance subsidy trust fund system or plan as provided under this section shall be entitled to a refund of all employee contributions he or she made to that trust fund, without interest, regardless of whether the firefighter has vested for purposes of retirement. Any firefighter who has vested for purposes of retirement in the service of the municipality or special fire control district, and has contributed to the firefighters’ retiree health insurance subsidy trust fund for so long as he or she was eligible to make such contributions, may, in his or her discretion, elect to leave his or her accrued contributions in the fund, whereupon, such firefighter shall, upon retiring and commencing to draw retirement benefits, receive a health insurance subsidy based upon his or her aggregate number of years of service, as defined in s. 175.032.
(10) ADMINISTRATION OF SYSTEM; ACTUARIAL VALUATIONS; AUDITS; RULES; ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS.The board of trustees of the firefighters’ pension trust fund, or the plan trustees in the case of local law plans established under s. 175.351, shall be solely responsible for administering the health insurance subsidy trust fund. Pursuant thereto:
(a) As part of its administrative duties, no less frequently than every 3 years, the board shall have an actuarial valuation of the firefighters’ retiree health insurance subsidy trust fund prepared as provided in s. 112.63 by an enrolled actuary, covering the same reporting period or plan year used for the firefighters’ pension plan, and shall submit a report of the valuation, including actuarial assumptions and type and basis of funding, to the division.
(b) By February 1 of each year, the trustees shall file a report with the division, containing an independent audit by a certified public accountant if the fund has $250,000 or more in assets, or a certified statement of accounting if the fund has less than $250,000 in assets, for the most recent plan year, showing a detailed listing of assets and methods used to value them and a statement of all income and disbursements during the year. Such income and disbursements shall be reconciled with the assets at the beginning of and end of the year.
(c) The trustees may adopt such rules and regulations as are necessary for the effective and efficient administration of this section.
(d) At the discretion of the plan sponsor, the cost of administration may be appropriated from the trust fund or paid directly by the plan sponsor.
(11) BENEFITS.Subsidy payments shall be payable under the firefighters’ retiree health insurance subsidy program only to participants in the program or their beneficiaries. Such subsidy payments shall not be subject to assignment, execution, or attachment or to any legal process whatsoever, and shall be in addition to any other benefits to which eligible recipients are entitled under any workers’ compensation law, pension law, collective bargaining agreement, municipal or county ordinance, or any other state or federal statute.
(12) DISTRIBUTION OF PREMIUM TAXES; COMPLIANCE REQUIRED.Premium tax dollars for which spending authority is granted under this section shall be distributed from the Police and Firefighters’ Premium Tax Trust Fund and remitted annually to municipalities and special fire control districts in the same manner as provided under this chapter for firefighters’ pension funds. Once a health insurance subsidy plan has been implemented by a municipality or special fire control district under this section, in order for the municipality or special fire control district to participate in the distribution of premium tax dollars authorized under this section, all provisions of this section, including state acceptance pursuant to part VII of chapter 112, shall be complied with, and said premium tax dollars may be withheld for noncompliance.
History.s. 1, ch. 92-51; s. 39, ch. 93-193; s. 12, ch. 94-259; s. 1451, ch. 95-147; s. 4, ch. 95-250; s. 40, ch. 99-1.