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Enrolling in health coverage is confusing for everyone.
|Healthcare terminology can be difficult, even for English speakers. In a 2013 telephone survey, the American Institute of CPAs found that more than half of U.S. adults cannot accurately identify at least one of three terms commonly used in health care: premiums, co-pays and deductibles. (Health Care Disparities in the Post-Affordable Care Act Era)|
|In an Aetna survey, 88% of those interviewed said the available information (regarding health insurance plans) is confusing and complicated. 84% complained that health plans provide conflicting details. 83% said that, in the end, it can be too hard determining which plan is best for them. (Choosing Health Insurance is Harder Than Parenting?)|
|A shopper in the Marketplace can choose from 40 plans, on average. On top of the sheer number to sift through, George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon, found that people misunderstood plan features and costs. Even with plan details right in front of them, only 40% of privately insured Americans could identify how much they’d have to pay for an M.R.I. scan. Only 11% could report what a four-day hospital stay would cost them. Yet study subjects were overconfident. (Why Consumers Often Err In Choosing Health Plans)|
Now, imagine you're a limited-English-speaker navigating this already confusing terrain.
One in five Americans speaks a language other than English at home. And about 41% of this multilingual group is considered “Limited English Proficient” (LEP). That’s 25 million people (about 9% of the entire population) in the U.S. who speak English “less than very well.”
Understanding complex health plans and enrolling in coverage is confusing for everyone. And for the 25 million limited English speakers in the U.S. who are faced with a language barrier when navigating this already confusing terrain, the process can be even more overwhelming. Don’t leave your limited-English-speaking applicants in the dark.
Open Enrollment for 2018 health coverage is quickly approaching.
Between November 1st and December 15th, millions of Americans will have the ability to apply and enroll for health insurance through the Marketplace. With Americans speaking more languages today than ever before, and strict legislation dictating language access requirements in healthcare, it’s critical that you're able to support and inform all of your applicants (no matter what language they speak) during 2018 open enrollment.