WASHINGTON - New year – new laws.
Beginning January 1, 2024, several new laws went into effect across the Washington, D.C. area.
NEW MARYLAND LAWS 2024
Maryland has raised minimum wages for workers to $15 an hour. The Fair Wage Act of 2023 was signed into law by Maryland Governor Wes Moore in April of last year. The new law will increase wages for approximately 163,000 workers.
PLASTIC BAG BANS
Businesses in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties, and in Frederick, Maryland, will no longer be permitted to provide single-use plastic bags at the point of sale. Customers are encouraged to bring reusable bags with them to shop.
The ban was enacted to help protect local waterways and marine life, reduce plastic pollution and litter, and promote reusable bags. Several other areas of Maryland, like Baltimore County, already have plastic bag bans in place.
TRANS HEALTH EQUITY ACT
Maryland’s Medicaid program is now required to cover medically necessary gender-affirming care without discrimination.
According to the legislation posted online, "the Maryland Medical Assistance Program to provide gender-affirming treatment in a nondiscriminatory manner; requiring that the gender-affirming treatment be assessed according to nondiscriminatory criteria that are consistent with current clinical standards; prohibiting the issuance of an adverse benefit determination related to gender-affirming treatment unless a certain experienced health care provider has reviewed and confirmed the appropriateness of the determination; etc."
NEW VIRGINIA LAWS 2024
The legislation authorizes Virginia to become a signatory to the Counseling Compact, which allows eligible licensed professional counselors to practice in other Compact member states – as long as they are licensed in at least one of the member states. Virginia is the 20th state to join the Counseling Compact.
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER PANELS
The new law aims to ensure a smoother transition and continuity of care for patients.
Insurance carriers must now inform policyholders if their current healthcare provider, or one they've seen in the past six months, is no longer part of the carrier's network.
If your healthcare provider is removed from the insurance network, you have the right to continue receiving care from them for at least 90 days after their removal.