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The U.S. Health Insurance Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is coming up quickly. CyraCom’s expert linguists are ready to help health plan offerors translate written materials and can often accommodate fast turnaround times. Let’s review why translation is essential and how CyraCom can help you prepare for open enrollment.

Why translate health plan content

Understanding and comparing various health plans can be complex without a language barrier, leaving limited-English proficient (LEP) people with an even more significant challenge. Translating health plan content isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s legally required by Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

There are four critical requirements that exchanges, qualified health plans, and web brokers registered for more than one year must meet under the ACA:

  • Entities must provide oral and written translation services as needed by applicants and customers. This service must be provided at no additional cost.
  • Taglines are required for both printed and digital documents to notify customers that translation services are available. Taglines must appear in the top 15 non-English languages of the state or states the organization operates in.
  • Website content must be translated into languages spoken by LEP groups that make up 10% or more of a relevant state's population. Qualified health plans only need to translate "critical" information. However, exchanges and web brokers must translate all web content "intended for qualified individuals, applications, employers and employees, and enrollees."
  • Finally, health plans must provide taglines on claims, appeals, and summaries of benefits in any non-English language spoken by 10% or more of the population for any county they serve.

How to prepare translated materials for open enrollment

Here are a few ways your organization can get ready for the AEP:

Analyze your content: Think about the different types of content you offer and the function each item serves. You can separate materials into categories such as:

  • Client Support: Items related to marketing, membership, customer care, claims, pharmacy
  • Digital Assets: Websites, social media, apps
  • Documentation: Brochures, sales kits, enrollment materials/forms, welcome kits, information guides, summaries of benefits, evidence of coverage, annual notices of change
  • Member Communication: Letters, emails, call centers, online chat

Determine which assets need translation: Use the compliance requirements above to sort your materials into three categories: Must Translate, Want to Translate, and No Translation Necessary. For example, marketing or promotional materials may not legally require translation, but prioritizing communication with LEP individuals could encourage them to enroll in your plan compared to other options.

Select target languages: The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) recommends using the Office of Civil Rights’ resource to select the top 15 languages spoken by LEP individuals in each state.

Choose a qualified translation partner: Investing in high-quality translation can help you complete projects without worrying about potentially embarrassing mistakes. You need a language services provider (LSP) who:

  • Prioritizes human translation: Many LSPs use machine translation and human editors. In contrast, CyraCom uses human linguists for each step of your project to help ensure accuracy.
  • Implements a thorough quality assurance process: CyraCom’s quality assurance process includes a second linguist reviewing the original translator’s work, followed by an overall review from your dedicated project manager.
  • Keeps your data secure: The traditional translation industry practice is to email files to translators’ individual computers, where they are then worked on in external, potentially unsecured systems. Vendors should have safeguards in place, let you know who’ll have access to your documents, and confirm any third-party security accreditations.
  • Provides long-term savings and consistency: CyraCom uses Translation Memory to store your past projects and incorporate matching content into future projects. This process saves you time and budget when refreshing materials for open enrollment each year.
  • Handles fast turnaround for time-sensitive projects: Choose a partner who can help you complete projects quickly to meet your AEP deadlines. Make sure to ask about any fees for expedited projects.
  • Supports your team: A dedicated project manager and account manager helps you build a strong relationship with your LSP. You should know who you can contact with questions about your translation projects.

Additional resources

We can help you prepare for open enrollment

Contact our team at today to ask questions or request a free translation quote.


Lindsay Lawson

Lindsay Lawson

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