Rep. Arnold: New laws promoting a healthier Indiana to take effect

Posted by: Peter Hoffman  | Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Many new laws will take effect on July 1 that reflect our ongoing effort to improve the lives of all Hoosiers.

As a result of new legislation passed this session, Hoosiers with developmental disabilities will now be able to better communicate with law enforcement officers and others to avoid misunderstandings. Under the new law, the Indiana State Department of Health will be authorized to issue identification (ID) cards indicating that an individual has been medically diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or another developmental disability. The cards will help prevent law enforcement officials and others from, for instance, mistakenly interpreting autistic behavior for noncompliance or aggression. Applying for the card is voluntary, does not enlist the participant into a registry, and does not otherwise excuse an individual for their actions.

Lawmakers also passed another new law to further assist Hoosiers with disabilities. In 2013, the federal government enacted the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, allowing people with disabilities to set up tax-free savings accounts that do not impact their means-tested public assistance benefits. These are very similar to college and health savings accounts enjoyed by many families across the country. Through this legislation, Indiana is establishing a state ABLE Program. This new law will ease the financial challenges faced by many Hoosiers with disabilities and will allow them to plan and save for future qualified expenses like education, housing and transportation. ABLE accounts will supplement, but not supplant, benefits provided through private insurers, the Medicaid program, the supplemental security income program, the beneficiary’s employment and other sources. This new financial tool will benefit both disabled families and our communities.

Another new law will now allow physicians and other providers with prescriptive authority to prescribe to patients without an in-person visit. Harnessing new technologies, telemedicine can bring patients to the doctor’s office remotely. Afterward, the telemedicine provider must notify a person’s primary care physician of any prescriptions written. Allowing patients to receive prescriptions through telemedicine not only provides greater convenience to consumers by removing the need to make trips to the doctor’s office for non-emergency ailments like colds or sinus infections, but also frees up physicians and emergency rooms to treat those with more serious illnesses. This is especially appealing for people who live in rural areas or who have trouble traveling.

As we continue to lead Indiana forward, please contact me with questions or input at 317-232-9793 or by email at Learn more about the work being done at the Statehouse by signing up to receive my email updates at


State Rep. Lloyd Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.

A high-resolution photo of Arnold can be downloaded by clicking here.