Governor Jim Justice has signed into law several bills that will directly or indirectly affect some or all of our UE Local 170 members.

Two will affect PEIA directly: A new law capping the co-pay on insulin, and another requiring PEIA and private health insurers to provide mental health parity, or in other words putting behavioral health, mental health and substance use disorders on comparable footing with medical and surgical procedures.

The insulin law caps the co-pay at $100 per 30-day supply — well above the more desirable $25 in the original House bill, but the bill probably would not have passed without the Senate’s amendment.

Important note: The insulin law takes effect June 5, as does the mental health parity law. That means you may not see changes in benefits immediately.

Other bills passed include changes in provisional licensing of social workers within the DHHR and adding DHHR applicants to the West Virginia Clearance for Access: Registry and Employment Screening. Back in February, Gov. Justice signed a law strengthens whistleblower protections, and protecting those who wish to join an “employee organization” — such as UE Local 170.

Once again, we thank all who helped us lobby against unfavorable bills such as one restricting representation in the grievance process, and for a number of favorable bills that, sorry to say, did not get off the ground. These same bills will be reintroduced in the 2021 legislative session.