BMA in the News

House Lawmakers Ask CMS To Translate Medicare Info To More Languages

Inside Health Policy

More than 60 House lawmakers, led by Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), asked CMS on Tuesday (May 14) to increase the number of languages in which Medicare enrollment and education materials are printed.

While the lawmakers said CMS “is to be lauded” for making Medicare documents available in English and Spanish, they say the agency should begin to put into place a deliberate process for additional language translation. In particular, the lawmakers say CMS should translate the Medicare and You handbook, Medicare.gov and Plan Finder websites, and the Understanding Medicare Advantage Plans booklet into more languages.

“CMS should ensure that all Medicare-eligible individuals and beneficiaries have access to unbiased and complete information on their Medicare options, in order to support a more seamless and informed decision-making and enrollment process,” the Tuesday letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma says. “As our linguistic diversity increases, Medicare should therefore improve the accessibility of its educational and enrollment materials for all beneficiaries through translation of key materials into additional languages, beyond English and Spanish.”

The Better Medicare Alliance and Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum praised the letter. Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum President and CEO Kathy Ko Chin said translating the materials into more languages is a necessary step to reducing health disparities. -- Michelle M. Stein (mstein@iwpnews.com)