Book explains new cancer laws related to medical bills, medical debt, wigs, and biomarker testing

June 2024 Federal and State Update – Medical Debt, Wigs, Biomarker Testing, and more

Read on for the latest news you need about federal and state legislation, laws, and programs that may impact the cancer community.

We have information on new benefits for Veterans, proposed rules on medical debt, protections for firefighters, and new insurance coverage requirements.

National News

  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has added three rare cancers to its list of illnesses that are presumed to be caused by exposure to burn pits and other environmental toxins during the Persian Gulf War and post-9/11 combat operations. The VA has designated male breast cancer, urethral cancer, and cancer of the paraurethral glands as presumptive diseases under the PACT Act. This allows Veterans to file for expedited disability compensation and health care benefits.
  • The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has proposed a rule to prohibit the use of medical information during credit eligibility decisions. Currently, creditors can consider the value, condition, and lien status of a medical device (that may serve as collateral to secure a loan), eligibility for disability insurance, and repayment history of medical debt and medical history.
    • The proposed rule would mean:
      • Medical debt can no longer be factored into credit reports
      • Medical history and prognosis can no longer be used to determine risk
      • Medical devices can no longer be used as collateral
    • Knowing what is on your credit report can be helpful. Consumers can get a free copy of their consumer report from each credit reporting agency once a year. The free report can be requested by telephone, mail, or through this government-authorized website:

State Updates

  • New Jersey’s Governor signed legislation that requires firefighters have access to periodic cancer screening exams. The state will now reimburse up to $1,250 per three-year period for each firefighter’s examination, regardless of their participation in their employer’s health care plan.
  • Minnesota passed the “Minnesota Debt Fairness Act,” which prohibits reporting to credit bureaus and transferring of medical debt to spouses. Health care providers are also not allowed to withhold necessary medical care due to medical debt. The law goes into effect on October 1, 2024. There will be new income-based wage garnishment levels, so people making minimum wage won't see more than 10% of their paycheck going to collections. The current rate is 25%.
  • Minnesota also expanded its requirement that insurance companies cover wigs for alopecia, to include anyone who has hair loss due to a medical condition, including cancer. The coverage is capped at $1,000 per benefit year and co-payments and deductibles may apply.
  • Tennessee’s Governor signed a law that eliminates out-of-pocket costs for high-risk men being screened for prostate cancer.
  • Biomarker Testing Updates
    • Colorado’s Governor signed a law requiring private insurance to cover biomarker testing.
    • Connecticut’s Governor signed a law requiring Medicaid to cover biomarker testing.

If you are interested in getting more involved in advocating for a policy or law in your state, check out Triage Cancer’s resources on policy and legislative advocacy efforts.

Stay tuned for more news at the national and state level that may impact the cancer community.

About Triage Cancer

Triage Cancer is a national, nonprofit providing free education to people diagnosed with cancer, caregivers, and health care professionals on cancer-related legal and practical issues. Through events, materials, and resources, Triage Cancer is dedicated to helping people move beyond diagnosis.

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