The health insurance agency and brokerage services classified as public exchange Web broker entities really will have to offer telephonic interpreter services in 150 languages for the 2016 open enrollment period.
Officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) set that translation standard in a new batch of final regulations describing Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) program parameters for 2016.
The standard would not apply to ordinary retail agents and brokers who use HealthCare.gov to help consumers enroll in coverage. The standard would apply to Web broker entities that give consumers the ability to enroll in PPACA exchange coverage through their own websites. For Web broker entities that are already registered with an exchange, the interpreter requirement is set to take effect Nov. 15, 2015, or the scheduled start date for the third annual PPACA open enrollment period.
Newly registered Web brokers would have to meet the requirement within one year of getting registered with an exchange.
PPACA officially requires navigators, or nonprofit exchange user helpers, to offer services “in a manner that is culturally and linguistically appropriate to the needs of the population being served by the exchange or exchanges,” but CMS, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has declined to require navigators and other non-Web-broker exchange helpers to offer 150-language telephonic interpreter services.