Legislation under Senate Bill (“SB”) 853 requires California health care plans to provide interpreter services to their members so that they receive their medical services in a language they speak and understand.
HMO and PPO patients can receive language services to:
- Explain their symptoms or their medical history to physicians
- Understand their health problem or treatment choices
- Choose among treatments or treatment options
- Understand instructions about medication, medical equipment, or follow-up care.
To receive language assistance or an interpreter in any of these situations, please contact your health plan to coordinate those services. Information can be found on your member ID card, on the health plan website, or through the phone numbers listed below. Note that Medi-Cal and Medicare health plans must follow federal laws and those health plans may offer additional language services not required by SB 853. Sign language interpreters are also available under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
Language assistance is provided by the health plans at no cost to you or your physician. Language assistance and interpreter services may be accessed through the major California HMO and PPO health plans as follows:
For individual and family plan: (800) 839-2172
For employer group or Medicare Supplemental members:(800) 522-0088
For Healthy Families, Healthy Kids or AIM members: (888) 231-9473
For Chinese: (800) 730-7270
For Spanish: (800) 624 -8822
For English and all other languages:
The California Department of Managed Health Care (“DMHC”) operates an HMO Help Center to provide language assistance.
The DMHC Help Center may be reached at (888) 466-2219.
The California Department of Insurance (“DOI”) operates a Hotline to provide language assistance in a number of languages for PPO patients. The DOI Hotline may be reached at (800) 927-45357.
To contract directly with an interpreter agency the following agencies are available:
CyraCom International Phone Interpreter Services
Communicaid Language Solutions
Interpreting and Consulting Services, Inc