Being able to find an accessible way to acquire any type of insurance coverage is essential, especially if you live in a country whose official language you do not master. Within the United States, people whose main language is different from English take up an important percentage of the population and a large part of it is characterized by having a limited English Proficiency (LEP). For this reason, it is necessary to know how to provide this community with linguistic support in obtaining insurance.
This article will focus on explaining how linguistic support can be provided to acquire insurance coverage. It will also discuss why it is important to enabling this access and what role the translation industry plays in this process.
The Right to Be Informed in One’s Language
It is believed that 1 in 5 Americans speak a language other than English at home and that about 8% of the country’s population has limited language proficiency. Despite this, insurance is characterized by complex information that requires a near-native knowledge of the language. However, federal law obliges insurers to facilitate this access for people with limited English proficiency.
Created in 1964, the Civil Rights Act prohibits any type of discrimination against persons based on race, color, or place of origin. According to the Federal Government, national origin discrimination includes failure to provide meaningful access to literate persons.
LEP people must be considered equal in their rights to other residents and therefore be able to understand the information they receive. This implies that insurers must guarantee the translation and interpreting of relevant information as part of their practice.
How Insurance Companies Can Use Language Services
Any insurance company wishing to provide language support to the LEP population should follow a series of steps based on the following points:
Provide an assistance program: Each company should provide training on assessing the language needs of the LEP population and acquire interpreter services; so that interpreters work with certificate application counsellors and insurance brokers in the marketplace.
In addition, companies should establish a method by which they gather feedback from the LEP population and obtain suggestions on how to solve their problems.
Generate online and paper insurance applications: Insurers should provide direct access to translated versions of online applications on enrollment portals and marketplace websites; as well as facilitate access to translated paper applications.
Provide LEP services on insurance websites: Companies should translate insurance websites into languages other than English, as well as provide a link to a directory of consumer assistance programs on the website homepage where customers can search for assistance in their native language.
Provide education and outreach: Create culturally appropriate outreach and education plans. Insurers should tailor each to the LEP population, especially groups affected by health disparities.
Translation & Interpreting For Insurance Access In The US
When translation and interpreting are considered in access to insurance coverage, the LEP population can easily understand information and purchase insurance comfortably in their native language. This is why, in addition to complying with Federal Law, insurers must work hand in hand with translation companies. In this way, they increase their efficiency, both in terms of administrative and financial results.
Likewise, when the LEP population feels that their needs are taken into account and adapted into communication strategies, insurance companies improve the quality of their customer service and minimize the number of claims.
At Win & Winnow, we pursue information accessibility; we understand that every community has linguistic needs and we are committed to assisting them through language services. We have over 18 years of experience in the market and have a team of highly trained professionals that will provide you with the solution you are looking for.
If you are interested in hearing more about our services or would like to receive a proposal, do not hesitate to contact us here, we will get back to you as soon as possible!