Officials Develop Language Assistance Regulations
Health insurers in California could pay hospitals for use of their interpreters or establish video conferencing systems to comply with a state law that requires language assistance be provided to members who speak limited or no English, according to a spokesperson at the Department of Managed Health Care, the Modesto Bee reports.
The law (SB 853) also requires insurers to provide written letters and eligibility notices in languages members can understand.
Under proposed rules drafted by DMHC, insurers must have language assistance programs set up by July 1, 2007, and provide the written materials by Oct. 1, 2007.
The law does not require such services for uninsured patients or Medi-Cal beneficiaries, but a 1990 law already requires hospitals to provide language services (Carlson, Modesto Bee, 3/23).