Preparing for Covered California: Big Changes Ahead for Health Plans in 2014

Since 2011, Avantpage has closely followed the progress of Covered California, California’s new health benefit exchange program. We’ve kept abreast of new developments and provided our translation clients with information and updates as we’ve received them. In this special report, we’ve compiled information and answers to some of the most pressing language access concerns expressed by health plans: When should translation efforts be initiated? What written and online materials should be translated, and into how many languages? Are there ACA requirements in place we should be aware of?

We’ve gathered some healthcare translation FAQs that will help you:

  • gain a greater understanding of exactly how Covered California will affect your business
  • prioritize your translation and other language access needs as Covered California takes effect
  • develop effective project timelines to meet translation requirement deadlines

 As a result, you’ll improve your communication efforts toward LEP individuals, capture a greater share of new health plan prospects, and transform new plan members into lifelong customers.

How Will Covered California Impact Language Access and Translation?

In October 2013, Covered California will begin actively enrolling hundreds of thousands of residents for healthcare coverage. Because of the large amount of new materials and information that must be translated prior to the implementation of Covered California, it is vital that health plan providers have a solid language assistance strategy in place. In fact, a recent article in The Sacramento Bee* stated that the biggest challenge in 2013 for Covered California will be “Overcoming language and social barriers to persuade hundreds of thousands of residents to sign up for subsidized health insurance.”

 *Covered California Boss Must Set Up –Stat!– A New Health Care System, Kevin Yamamura, The Sacramento Bee, December 28, 2012

As a Health Plan Organization, How Should You Initiate the Translation Process?

Once you’ve chosen a Language Services Provider to work with, it’s wise to start by choosing vital documents in your most crucial languages, and translating these projects first. It’s easier to build a “library” of translated documents over time than it is to try to get everything accomplished at once.

Don’t lose out on gaining new members through Covered California because your translated documents are not ready. It’s certain that other health plans will be there ahead of you, translations in place, ready to take full advantage of Covered California’s new pool of enrollees.

Will Covered California Be Responsible for Translating Materials for Health Plans Enrolled in the Exchange?

Covered California will have its own translated materials for marketing and outreach programs in place to connect with LEP residents, but these materials will not cover information about specific health plans.

Health plan providers will be responsible for translating all online materials, information and documentation into their threshold languages. It is imperative that health plans begin preliminary work now in order to partner with translation providers they trust and begin the translation process.

Check back next week for Part II of our FAQs!