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Cancer News You Need: New State Laws on Paid Leave, Medicaid, Fertility, & Medical Debt

This blog covers the latest news you need about new state legislation, laws, and programs that may impact the cancer community. We have information on health insurance coverage for biomarker testing, fertility preservation, oral chemo, and Medicaid expansion.

State Updates

  • As of 8/1/23, employers in Louisiana must provide employees one day off to get genetic testing or cancer screenings, as long as they are medically necessary. The leave does not have to be paid, and the employee should provide at least 15 days’ notice to their employer.
  • Paid Leave Updates:
    • Starting 1/1/24, eligible workers in Illinois can start accruing 40 hours of paid leave for any reason. The Illinois Paid Leave for All Workers Act, applies to every employee working for an employer in Illinois, but does not include independent contractors. Individuals who accrue hours can begin using them starting 3/31/24. Currently, it will not cover those covered by a collective bargaining agreement in construction or parcel delivery.
    • Starting 1/1/24, Minnesota employers must provide paid leave to eligible employees for sick and safe time. Employees are eligible if they work at least 80 hours in a year for a Minnesota employer and are not an independent contractor. Employees will earn one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours per year. The leave can be used for an employee’s medical condition, a family member, domestic violence, or closure of workplace due weather emergency.
    • The new Maine law providing Paid Family Leave will begin on 5/1/26. People will start contributing to the Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits on 1/1/25. The Paid Family Leave Program will provide eligible workers with 12 weeks of paid time off to care for themselves, family members, or the birth of a child.
  • Medicaid Expansion Updates: To get an overview of Medicaid, read our Quick Guide to Medicaid.
    • North Carolina Medicaid will be expanded starting December 1, 2023. Prior to December 1, 2023, people in North Carolina are not eligible for Medicaid just on the basis of income. Now, people can access Medicaid if their household income is below 138% of the federal poverty level. You can learn more about requirements and applying on the North Carolina Medicaid Division of Health Benefits website.
    • Some immigrants in Michigan will have access to Medicaid without facing a 5-year waiting period. Children and pregnant people with permanent residence immigration status do not have to live in the U.S. for five years before being eligible for Medicaid. For more on Medicaid in Michigan, see Health & Human Services, Health Care Programs Eligibility.
    • California is eliminating asset limits for all state Medicaid programs beginning 1/1/24. There will no longer be asset limits for Medicaid’s Aged, Blind, and Disabled program, Medicare Savings programs, or Medicaid Long-Term Care programs.
  • Fertility Preservation Updates:
    • Beginning 1/1/25, the District of Columbia will require individual and group health insurance coverage for diagnosis of treatment of infertility and fertility preservation.
  • Medical Debt Updates
    • New York is considering a law to prevent health care providers in New York from reporting medical debt to credit agencies. Health care providers include hospitals, medical providers, or ambulances. Debt collection agencies that contract with health care providers will not be allowed to report medical debt.
    • Currently, Colorado is the only state that prevents medical debt from being included on credit reports and used to determine credit scores, with some very limited exceptions.
    • A new Oregon law requires hospitals to screen every patient for financial assistance if they owe more than $500 in medical bills.

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 levels 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 eventsmaterials, and resources, Triage Cancer is dedicated to helping people move beyond diagnosis.

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