A new year means more than just new resolutions — it also means some legislation that passed in 2023 will be implemented at the beginning of the year. Here are some of the new Virginia laws and other changes that are effective January 1, 2024.
Joining Counseling Compact
Virginia is now part of the Counseling Compact, an interstate agreement that allows counselors who are licensed and reside in at least one participating state to practice in other participating states. If you wanted to receive online counseling from a practitioner who is licensed in Maryland, for example, you can do so, even if that counselor isn’t licensed in Virginia. See other participating states on this map.
Home Studies in Adoption Process are Transferable
Home studies conducted during the process of placing a child in a foster home or with an adoptive family will now be more streamlined and transferable between all localities, local boards, and licensed child-placing agencies within Virginia. Studies will all be conducted with a specific template so that they can be transferred throughout other agencies. The prospective foster or adoptive parent must request the transfer.
Expanded Tax Exemptions for Military Retirement Pay
Virginia introduced a state tax exemption in 2022 that made up to $10,000 of military retirement pay tax-free, set to increase by $10,000 each year until 2025, when up to $40,000 could be exempt — but it only applied to those over age 55. Starting with the 2024 taxable year, that age restriction is no longer in place, meaning veterans of any age can claim those tax exemptions.
No Retail Marijuana Sales Yet
In 2021, the Cannabis Control Act passed to allow those over age 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to four marijuana plants. That act included multiple provisions that aimed to establish retail sales of marijuana beginning in 2024, but it required action from the General Assembly to set up a regulatory framework before retail sales could commence. Such a framework has yet to pass, meaning recreational sales are still off the table.
Per a separate bill, House Bill 1598, control of medical marijuana sales will transfer from the Board of Pharmacy to the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority. The CCA is a regulatory agency that was created with the Cannabis Control Act with the intention to “control the possession, sale, transportation, distribution, and delivery” of retail marijuana.
Mandated Coverage for Hearing Aids for Minors
Senate Bill 1003 requires that health insurance providers, health maintenance organizations, and corporations that provide health care coverage subscriptions provide coverage for hearing aids for children under 18 when an otolaryngologist recommends it. Coverage includes one hearing aid per hearing-impaired ear every two years, up to a cost of $1,500.
Continuity of Care in Health Insurance
House Bill 2354 makes changes to health insurance policies relating to when a health care provider is removed from a health insurance carrier’s provider panel. Primarily, it aims to ensure better continuity of care for when a provider is removed.
This means that if your health care provider (or any provider you’ve seen in the past six months) is removed from your insurance carrier’s provider panel, your carrier is required to notify you prior to their removal.
It also means that you can continue to receive care from that provider for at least 90 days after the provider is terminated from the network, with the following provisions:
- If you are pregnant at the time of the provider’s termination, you may continue to receive care through the postpartum period.
- If you have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness at the time of the provider’s termination, you may continue to receive care for up to 180 days.
- If you were admitted to and receiving treatment at an inpatient facility at the time of the provider’s termination, you may continue to receive care until you are discharged.
Cases where the provider was removed for cause are the exception.
Feature image, stock.adobe.com
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