While the new laws aren’t drastic changes, most of them are centered around streamlining health care for Virginians.
NORFOLK, Va. — With 2024 approaching, a new year means some new laws for Virginians.
The laws were passed during the 2023 General Assembly session by the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House of Delegates, then signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
While the new laws aren’t drastic changes, most of them are centered around streamlining health care for Virginians. Aside from those, one of the new laws makes changes to the state’s adoption system, while another will affect how medical marijuana is regulated.
Here’s a look at the new Virginia laws taking effect on January 1, 2024.
Home studies in adoption process will become transferable
One of the new laws taking effect on Jan. 1 will add flexibility to the adoption process in Virginia, particularly home studies, an assessment of a prospective adoptive family that usually lasts two to three months.
The law will allow home studies done by a local board of social services or licensed child-placing agency to be transferable between all localities, local boards, and licensed child-placing agencies within the state.
The transfer would have to be requested by the prospective foster or adoptive parent, and is subject to any time limitations or other laws and regulations.
Health insurers required to cover hearing aids for minors
Under a law passed in the 2023 General Assembly session, health insurers will have to provide coverage for hearing aids and related services for people 18 years or younger when recommended by an otolaryngologist.
The coverage includes one hearing aid for each impaired ear every 24 months, up to a cost of $1,500. The new law will apply to policies; contracts; and plans delivered, issued, or renewed on and after Jan. 1.
The legislation passed both the Senate and House unanimously in February and was signed by Youngkin in March.
Eligible licensed counselors will be allowed to practice in other states
Another law passed in 2023 paved the way for Virginia to join the Counseling Compact, allowing eligible licensed professional counselors to practice in other states also part of the compact without the need for multiple licenses.
The organization that runs the compact says the program is beneficial by increasing people’s access to care, ensuring continuity of care when traveling or relocating, and ensuring quality counselors. Other states that are in the Counseling Compact include Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland and more.
The law passed unanimously in the Virginia House in January, the Senate in February, and was signed by Youngkin in March. More information about the compact can be found on the organization’s website.
New requirements for enrollee notification of health insurance changes
One of the new laws taking effect has to do with ensuring the continuity of health care when there are changes to health insurance.
Specifically, the law requires health insurance companies that use a “provider panel” — a certain type of contract with hospitals, physicians or other types of health care providers — to establish procedures for notifying enrollees when those providers are terminated.
The notification is required for providers “furnishing health care services to the enrollee or furnished health care services to the enrollee in the six months prior to the notice.”
The law also requires notification of “the right of an enrollee upon request to continue to receive health care services as provided in the law following the provider’s termination from a carrier’s provider panel.”
Change in oversight of Virginia’s medical marijuana program
On Jan. 1, oversight of the state’s medical marijuana program will move from the Virginia Board of Pharmacy to the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority (CCA).
The change in oversight is the result of a bill passed during the 2023 General Assembly session and signed by Youngkin, which will require the CCA to adopt previously enacted regulations of pharmaceutical processors, a legal term for a facility permitted to produce and dispense medical marijuana.
Additionally, “valid, active” permits, certifications and registrations that were issued by the Board of Pharmacy, as well as regulations adopted before Jan. 1, will continue to be valid until their expiration date and will legally be considered to have been issued by the CCA board.
Tap or click here for the CCA’s regulations on medical marijuana.
Clinton Mora is a reporter for Trending Insurance News. He has previously worked for the Forbes. As a contributor to Trending Insurance News, Clinton covers emerging a wide range of property and casualty insurance related stories.