06 Jun Cancer News You Need: Changes to Medicaid & State Laws on Biomarker Testing, Marijuana, & Paid Family Leave
Here is the latest news you need about laws and programs that may impact the cancer community, including state laws on health insurance coverage for biomarker testing, marijuana, paid family leave, and more.
- States have begun to re-check eligibility for Medicaid. During the public health emergency, individuals were allowed to be enrolled in Medicaid, without the state re-checking that they still qualify. Because the public health emergency has ended, states are now checking if individuals receiving Medicaid are still eligible. If people do not respond to the state to prove they are still eligible, they will be dropped from Medicaid. Check out our recent blog, What You Need to Know About Continuous Enrollment if You Have Medicaid to learn more about Medicaid unwinding. The Kaiser Family Foundation also has a tool to track Medicaid unwinding by state.
- Updates on Insurance Coverage for Biomarker Testing. This testing can give you more information about your cancer, and potentially help your treatment team make decisions that are best for you. If you’d like to learn more, read Triage Cancer’s Checklist to Understanding Biomarker Testing.
- Starting July 1, 2023, health benefit plans and Medicaid in Georgia must cover biomarker testing. This testing must be covered for the purposes of diagnosis, treatment, appropriate management, or ongoing monitoring of an enrollee's disease or condition when the testing is supported by medical and scientific evidence.
- Several states have recently passed similar laws. Arkansas and New Mexico biomarker health insurance coverage laws will go into effect January 1, 2024. Maryland’s law will go into effect July 1, 2025. Check out Triage Cancer’s Chart of State Laws for Biomarker Testing.
- As of January 1, 2023, individual and group health insurance plans in Connecticut must cover screening and diagnostic tests for breast and ovarian cancer for individuals of certain ages, or considered high risk. Tests include mammograms, ultrasounds, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and biopsies. For certain individuals at risk for breast cancer, plans must also cover prophylactic mastectomies and breast reconstruction. For those at risk for ovarian cancer, genetic testing, routine screening, CA-125 testing must be covered. You can learn more here.
- Delaware legalizes marijuana. Individuals are now allowed to smoke and consume marijuana. However, it is still illegal to use marijuana in public. Before using marijuana under the new law, you should know more about how it could impact your employment, because employers are still allowed to have zero-tolerance policies. Check out Triage Cancer’s Quick Guide to Medical Marijuana.
- Kentucky legalizes medical marijuana, to begin January 2025. Adult Individuals diagnosed with cancer, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, nausea, and post-traumatic stress disorder may be able to access medical marijuana. The law allows for marijuana edibles, tinctures, and topical products, but not smoking.
- Minnesota’s Governor signs paid family and medical leave law. Starting January 1, 2026, workers will be able to take paid time off for their own serious medical condition, or as a caregiver. For more information on state paid family and medical leave programs, see our Taking Time Off Chart of State Laws.
- Minnesota’s legislature passed a public option health plan, which gives residents with incomes above 200% of the federal poverty level access to the state’s Medicaid program by paying a monthly premium. Minnesota joins Colorado and Washington who have also recently passed public option plans.
- People who live outside of Vermont can now access death with dignity in Vermont without being a resident. Vermont modified their law to allow terminally ill individuals, over the age of 18, to access life-ending care regardless of the state they live in. 10 states currently have death with dignity statutes, and ten states are considering death with dignity legislation this year. These laws are also referred to as physician-assisted dying or aid-in-dying laws, which allow certain terminally ill individuals to voluntarily and legally request and receive a prescription medication from their physician to hasten their death in a peaceful, humane, and dignified way. For more information about this topic visit: Death with Dignity.
If you want to advocate for a 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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