Healthcare Thoughts – In the Wake of ACA

Who’d think that Congress would still be bickering over the ACA? States that were selected to host healthcare exchanges officially opened their doors on October 1. Additionally, health plans raced to get their CMS materials finalized, translated and updated for print and placed on their websites by this time. The process has been quite stressful for my customers. Failure to meet the October 1 deadline could have led to heavy fines.

It was equally crazy for VIA and our linguistic teams. As a matter of fact, we were tasked to translate one Evidence of Coverage (EOC) and Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) into Spanish (75,000 words) in three days for one of my Northwest customers. We did it of course.

I’m certain there are plenty of other things happening in healthcare, but in my world the single most important topic right now is making sure my customers are prepared for 2014 and what is expected of them regarding their multilingual translation requirements.

Many of my health plan customers have been proactive and others prefer to take their chances with a “wait and see” approach just in case there are any last minute changes in legislation. Either way, I suggest having your vital materials in place and, at the very least, Spanish translated.

The healthcare exchanges will garner the need for more language access and this will certainly help the LEP community. Like everyone, I’m trying to be patient and waiting to see how impactful this first step in healthcare legislation will be on bringing positive change for the under insured and growing language needs.

Bill Kennedy

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