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The beginning of November is typically the start of healthcare insurance open enrollment. There’s a lot to do to prepare, but one of the most crucial tasks is ensuring that limited-English proficient people (LEPPs) have the resources they need. As you may know, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires qualified health plan issuers to provide oral interpretation and written translations to LEP individuals. Here’s a quick guide to help your organization be ready to support individuals whose primary language is not English.

Step 1: Translation & Localization of Key Communications

The ACA requires health plans and health insurances issuers to provide a Summary of Benefits and Coverage to all applicants and enrollees to help them understand their coverage and make decisions. The Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services require organizations to use their updated template and related materials for open enrollment in 2022.

Start by making a list of all written resources that describe the benefits options you offer:

  • Website (including all key pages and downloadable documents)
  • Instructions for completing required forms
  • Summary Plan Description or Summary of Material Modifications
  • Required notices such as Patient Protections, COBRA, HIPAA Privacy, Wellness Programs, and Medicare Part D

Are these written resources ready for LEPPs? Using translation and localization services ensures that all enrollees understand your most important documents, not just those who speak English fluently.

Step 2: Interpretation Services for Answering Questions

Health insurance can be challenging to understand even if resources are written in enrollees’ primary language. People often have questions about the coverage. They have to navigate unfamiliar technical jargon, compare multiple options, and determine which plan works best for their budget. Are your customer services agents prepared to answer related questions in multiple languages?

You can prepare by having over-the-phone interpreters ready to help answer calls. If you offer video chat, you can also incorporate video remote interpretation as an additional resource. Your customer service agents and health plan enrollees will be able to communicate better, which is a win-win for your organization.

Did you know?

CyraCom interpreters learn insurance-related vocabulary words and have access to huge glossaries in their working languages to help calls go smoothly.

Have questions about the language services you’ll need for open enrollment? We’re here to help.

Contact us via email at or call us at 1-844-727-6739.

Lindsay Lawson

Lindsay Lawson

An experienced researcher, writer, and editor on language services-related topics, specializing in interpreting and translation services, how language works.