- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
HEALTH CARE REPORT: English not required
The second phase of a California state law requiring that health insurers provide language interpreters and translated materials at no charge took effect last week; millions of state residents with limited English skills benefit from the law.
The unprecedented law, which kicked off Jan. 1 by requiring insurance companies to provide interpreters for patients covered under health maintenance organization (HMO) plans, was extended Wednesday to state residents with preferred provider organizations (PPO) and other medical insurance plans.
California’s Managed Health Care Department estimates that one-third of the state’s 21 million HMO and PPO members are eligible for the language program.
“In today’s complex medical world, it is crucial to improve the communications between patients and doctors,” said Marty Martinez, policy director for the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. “California is making history through the implementation of this language access law, which will end the unnecessary distress and confusion many” limited English speakers experience.
The U.S. Census Bureau says 43 percent of California residents don’t speak English at home, a proportion far higher than in any other state. Hispanics account for 19 percent of total HMO enrollment, followed by Asians with 12 percent, blacks with 7 percent and American Indians and others at 3 percent.
A recent study found that more than 25 percent of limited-English-speaking patients who needed, but didn’t get, interpreter services could not understand their medication instructions.
Laura Reno, regulatory compliance director for Anthem Blue Cross, praised the law.
“We started notifying the contracted physicians, medical groups and hospitals who participate in our health plans late last year in preparation” for the law, she said. “We are a company that champions diversity, and having such a capability allows us to simplify the connection between health care and value for our members.”
A government-run health insurance plan created to compete with private insurers, as pushed by President Obama, would save the average family almost $200 a month, says a Virginia health care consulting firm.
A Lewin Group report released Monday shows that if Medicare payment levels are used in a “public plan” option, premiums would be up to 30 percent less than premiums for comparable private coverage.
On average, the monthly premium in a public plan for a typical benefits package would be $761 per family, compared with an average of $970 per family in the private market for the same coverage, the report says.
If eligibility is limited to just employers with small businesses, individuals and the self-employed — as the president has proposed — public plan enrollment would reach 42.9 million people. The number of people with private coverage would fall by 32 million people.
Medicare premiums would be lower than private premiums because of the exceptional leverage Medicare has with providers, the report says. Medicare pays hospitals about 30 percent less than private insurers pay for the same service, and physician payments are about 20 percent less than under private coverage.
Also, because Medicare has no allowance for insurer profits or broker/agent commissions, administrative costs are about one-third of those in private health plans.
About the Author
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at email@example.com.
- GOP tests Democrats on college loan issue
- Lawmakers outside intelligence loop get miffed about briefing structure in Congress
- John Boehner: Time is right to bring latest farm bill to House floor
- Supreme Court nears rulings on key voting rights cases
- John Boehner demands answers on NSA, phone records
Latest Blog Entries
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warns Pakistani leaders of U.S. aid losses over drone-strike protests
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Troops forced to rely on welfare, holiday charity
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Crystal Wright is a black conservative woman living in Washington, D.C.
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow