INDIANAPOLIS — Health and Safety were "hot button" issues this year in Indiana even before COVID-19.
In fact, new health-related laws passed before the pandemic will take effect Friday and throughout the year.
IndyCar Driver John Andretti crossed the ultimate finish line on Jan. 30, 2020, after a valiant three year fight against Colon cancer. His diagnosis drove dozens of 50-year-olds to get screened.
Starting in January 2021 insurance providers in Indiana must expand coverage for colon screenings starting with people who are 45 years old. The law will help doctors detect and treat potential problems earlier.
Ultrasound before abortion
The new year will bring a major change to abortion clinics across the state. Women seeking abortion services must undergo an ultrasound at least 18 hours before a procedure. It's part of an agreement resulting from a lawsuit between the State and Planned Parenthood. Clinics were given extra time to train staff on the use of the ultrasound equipment.
The State calls the new requirement "informed consent counseling" and says it protects women's health and the sanctity of life.
Nicole Erwin, Communications Manager for Planned Parenthood told 13 News:
"This medically unnecessary law...is only meant to shame, stigmatize and restrict access to abortion."
Erwin said Planned Parenthood will be "able to maintain the same level of access to patient care."
Protecting pregnant workers
At the same time, Governor Eric Holcomb is again promising to protect the rights of pregnant workers despite defeated legislation in the 2020 session. He's vowing to create better workplace accommodations like longer and more frequent breaks for expectant mothers. The issue is near the top of his 2021 legislative agenda.
In prepared statements, the Governor said:
"I believe women should not have to choose between a paycheck and a healthy pregnancy...I remain committed to improving infant and maternal health in Indiana so more moms and their babies get off to a better start."
No prescription for insulin
At the pharmacy, getting insulin will be easier for Hoosiers. Senate Enrolled Bill 255 cleared the way and a prescription will no longer be required to purchase insulin in Indiana.
Health pricing transparency
There will soon be more transparency in health pricing.
Hospitals, same day surgery centers, and urgent care clinics will all have to post the costs of their most frequently used services on their websites. The pricing must be in place by the end of March.
State lawmakers are trying to reduce the impact of vaping on minors. Starting Jan. 1, those under the age of 21 are banned from buying or possessing cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vaping materials. Indiana is taking a tougher stance against retailers too, by doubling the fines. Those who sell to underaged consumers could pay up to $2,000.
Retail shops can not sell the materials within 1,000 feet of a school.
If you have uncollected medical debt and have to go to small claims court Indiana has increased the $6,000 claim limit up to $8,000.
Students' income earned through paid internships or work-based learning programs will no longer impact their families' eligibility for certain benefits under another new law taking effect.
The income will no longer count against families accessing the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits.