FRANKFORT, Ky. — New year, almost always bring new laws. Here are some that will go into effect in Kentucky and Indiana on January 1, 2022. Several of the laws for both states are medical-related.
Insulin prices capped
Most Kentuckians will now only have to pay $30 per 30-day supply of insulin.
The cap applies to people with state-regulated health care plans or plans purchased on the marketplace exchange, state employees and people under group plans.
Ensuring access to good mental health and substance abuse care
A new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2022 that ensures Kentucky is complying with a federal law relating to mental health care.
Right now, there is a federal law requiring insurance companies to cover mental health care and substance use disorder in the same way they cover physical illnesses.
This new law ensures the insurance provided in the commonwealth do the same and don't make copays, deductibles and visit limitations more restrictive for mental health benefits than they are for medical and surgical benefits.
Telehealth options will stick around after the pandemic
A new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2022 that makes telehealth a permanent option for Medicaid and state-regulated private insurance plans.
The new law also requires reimbursement rates for telehealth services be the same as services provided in-person so providers aren't dissuaded from providing virtual appointments.
Health insurance contributions
The new law requires health benefit plans to accept, and count towards the insured's contributions, premium and cost-sharing payments made on behalf of state or federal programs, Indian or tribal organizations, certain tax-exempt organizations, or other persons.
The bill also extends a sunset clause that requires doctors to tell women with dense breast tissue found in mammograms that dense breast tissue isn't abnormal, but could slightly increase a person's risk of developing breast cancer.
That clause was set to run out in 2021, but now is in place until 2025.
Prescription drug co-pays
A new law will require insurance companies to apply drug coupon values to deductibles of those they're covering.
In most cases, this law will only apply to drugs for which there is a generic alternative.
Substance use disorder treatment
A new law aims to make it easier for Kentuckians to access substance use disorder treatment.
The law reduces insurance coverage hurdles that could slow down treatment access, such as prohibiting insurers from requiring or using certain utilization reviews for certain drugs used to treat substance use disorder.
Reducing local government costs
A new law aimed at saving tax dollars will allow sheriffs' offices to consolidate multiple Sheriff's Tax Settlement Audits into a single audit.
According to Kentucky's Legislative Research Commission, cost savings will vary, but on average, could save county governments more than $186,000 annually.
The new law also requires sheriffs in counties with 70,000 people or less to provide a complete statement of funds and expenditures for the preceding calendar year to the fiscal court by March 15.
Changes to teachers' pension plans
Teachers hired on Jan. 1, 2022 or later will be put into a “hybrid” pension tier and will contribute more toward their retirement benefits.
The new law also changes the age and years of service a teacher needs to retire with unreduced retirement benefits.
Currently, teachers can retire at any age if they’ve earned 27 years of service.
Now, teachers hired on or after Jan. 1, 2022 will only get their full benefits if they are 57 with at least 30 years of service, 60 with at least 10 years of service or 65 with at least five years of service.
The new plan makes no changes for active or retired teachers.
Changes to Kentucky's 'dig' law
In an effort to protect underground facilities across the commonwealth, a new law taking effect Jan. 1, 2022 will require operators to issue a positive response to excavators' requests for locating underground facilities within a certain timeframe.
According to Kentucky 811, a positive response means there's an automated or written communication system that allows operators and excavators to determine the status of locating underground facilities.
It also requires contact centers to keep locate request information on file for five years.
Third parties can now fix up blighted properties or sell them
A new law taking effect Jan. 1, 2022 aims to clean up blighted and abandoned properties around the commonwealth.
Under the Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act, third parties can now be appointed by courts to rehabilitate, demolish or sell abandoned or blighted properties.
The governor vetoed this bill saying the standards laid out in the bill are too broad and could be abused, but the legislature overrode the veto.
"Senate Bill 105 allows someone to seize property if it is vacant for one year," Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Kentucky, said in his veto message issued on March 23, 2021. "At one year, this could allow people to take advantage of people in nursing homes, or those who are ill. While abandoned and blighted properties need attention, Senate Bill 105 is not the answer."
Surgical smoke evacuation
Starting Jan. 1, 2022, a new law takes effect that requires hospitals and outpatient surgery centers to use a surgical smoke evacuation system during any procedure that generates smoke.
Health facilities violating the new law will be punished by a fine between $100-$500 per violation.
Surprise medical billing
In October, 13 Investigates told you patients were still getting surprise bills due to balance billing. Starting Jan. 1, the state's surprise billing law and the federal No Surprises Act will take effect.
The bill will require a “good faith estimate” for patients to review before getting care. Indiana patients should receive estimates five days before a procedure. It should include estimated in-network costs, out-of-network costs and a chance for a patient to approve or opt-out of a procedure.
A new e-prescriptions law also goes into effect in 2022. Many providers already moved from handwritten prescriptions to electronic ones. In part, because the law was supposed to go into effect in 2021.
The goal of the bill is to cut down on errors and limit fraud with paper prescriptions. Doctors can provide a written prescription in some circumstances, like if the power goes out. Waivers are also available.
School internet policies
Finally, in the new year, school districts and charter schools will be required to post their internet use policies online. A school's policy should ban “sending, receiving, viewing or downloading” inappropriate material. It needs to also list penalties for violators.
Schools will also need to use hardware or software to block kids from accessing inappropriate content.