Post Reconvened Session Update

Below is an update on where things stand after Virginia’s reconvened session on April 22:

The General Assembly agreed to “unallot” the majority of optional budget items previously approved by the legislature during the 2020 legislative session (in other words, this money can’t be spent until further notice). This decision comes as no surprise given the many changes in Virginia’s policy and budget landscape due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Legislators also made decisions on bills that the Governor amended that were important for our efforts on Association Health Plans and Multiple Employer Welfare Agreement legislation.

There is expected to be a special session called in late summer or early fall in order to determine which unallotted items will have their funding restored. State officials expect to have a clearer picture of state revenues and budget shortfalls by the time they meet. This gives advocates an opportunity to let legislators know what their priorities are in the lead up to the special session.

Here is an update of what this means for HAV priority policies and legislation:

Unchanged:

  • Elimination of work reporting requirement proposal for Medicaid
  • Virginia’s transition to a state-based exchange
    • Virginia expected to become state-based exchange on federal platform for upcoming plan year 2021
    • Virginia expected to become full state-based exchange by plan year 2023
  • Limitations on short-term, limited-duration (STLD) health plans as passed by the General Assembly
    • STLD plans will now be limited to terms of 3 months, with only one renewal term allowed in any 12 month period, for a total of potentially 6 months of STLD plan coverage.
    • The law will take effect July 1, 2021.
  • Paid family and medical leave study
    • Due September 30th by Chief Workforce Advisor of Virginia
  • Study on state reinsurance program
    • Due October 1st by Secretary of Health and Human Resources of Virginia

Unallotted (funding can be restored in special session):

  • Funding for the elimination of “40 Quarter Rule” for Medicaid (health coverage barrier for Lawful Permanent Residents)
  • Funding for Medicaid adult dental benefits
  • Extending postpartum coverage to 12 months
  • Medicaid reimbursement for voluntary home visiting program

Governor Amendment:

  • On bills to loosen regulations on who can offer Association Health Plans (SB 235/HB 795) and Multiple Employer Welfare Agreements (SB 861), the governor effectively asked the General Assembly to revisit these bills next year.
    • House legislators decided to let the governor decide to veto the AHP bills or sign them in their original form
    • Senate legislators decided to let the governor decide to veto the MEWA bill or sign it in its original form

These were hotly contested bills. We want to thank HAV organizations for their work to bring concerns about how these plans could impact the wider health coverage landscape to legislators’ attention.

We now await the governor’s decision!

Overall, we have many policy wins to celebrate from this past session, but the implementation of several key HAV priorities depends on funding decisions during the special session. Please stay tuned for information on how we can make sure health care items are prioritized in upcoming budget decisions!