Spanish-speaking business owners and their employees across the country will have the opportunity to learn about the Affordable Care Act and ask questions specific to their situations in a series of bi-monthly webinars based on a California model.
“We’ve been doing theses webinars in California for quite some time and they’ve been pretty successful,” said Marcia Dávalos, Southern California outreach manager for Small Business Majority. “We started these in California as part of the build-up toward the open enrollment period for Covered California last year and we’ve been getting good feedback from the Latino community.”
Small Business Majority, a national trade group, is partnering with two federal agencies — Small Business Administration and HHS — to organize and stage the interactive Internet sessions in Spanish. The webinars, called ACA 101, start this month. They present the basics of the new law and invite questions from participants.
“These interactive dialogues are a great way for small businesses to get the information they need to take advantage of and comply with key provisions of the health care law,” SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet said in a statement announcing the webinars.
Presentations in Spanish, Questions in English
Although the sessions will be conducted in Spanish, participants are encouraged to ask questions and make comments in English or Spanish — whichever is needed to make things clear.
“We found in our California webinars that the most engaging way to organize the process was to make the presentations in Spanish and then make it very clear that questions were welcome in both Spanish and English,” Dávalos said.
While almost everything is translatable, “there’s always that little bit — about 5% — that just resists moving from one language to another,” Dávalos said. “It’s usually some kind of technical jargon and it’s often the most important part of whatever is being talked about, so we want to make sure that people feel comfortable using both languages in these sessions. When that 5% is unclear, it makes the other 95% less useful,” Dávalos said.
The no-cost webinars, open to all small business owners as well as their employees, will feature representatives from the SBA, HHS and Small Business Majority. Panelists will discuss topics relevant to small businesses including tax credits, cost containment provisions and employer shared responsibility requirements.
The webinars also will provide detailed information on SHOP, the health insurance marketplace in which small business owners can pool buying power to help drive down insurance costs. Small business owners will learn how the marketplace functions and how small businesses can enroll.
Webinar content will generally be the same each week although question and answer periods following panel presentations will probably move in different directions.
“We expect to get different questions about different parts of the law in each webinar,” Dávalos said. “The discussions could vary quite a bit depending on who is participating and what part of the country they’re in.”
‘Hyper-Local’ California Series Gets National Makeover
The California webinars over the past 12 months — “Que Significa la Ley de Salud para su Pequeña Empresa” zeroed in on geographic regions of California and were “hyper-focused on covered California,” Dávalos said.
“A lot what we talked about was specific to California with state provisions that are different than the federal law. But in this national series we’re taking a much broader view and we’ll probably get different kinds of questions and responses than we did in California,” Dávalos said.
CMA Foundation Hosting Two Spanish Webinars for Physicians
The California Medical Association Foundation is hosting two no-cost Spanish-language webinars this month to help California physicians prepare for the next Covered California enrollment period, which begins Nov. 15. Both webinars will offer an overview of changes in the marketplace and the relationship between Covered California, insurers and physicians. The sessions also will explore demographics of the newly insured and other tips for physicians in navigating the new landscape.
Sessions are scheduled July 15 and July 22. CMA Foundation officials said space is limited and urged physicians to reserve a spot online.
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