California has set a precedent yet again in the world of interpreting by becoming the first state in the U.S. to pass a law requiring that health insurance organizations provide interpreting and translating services to patients with limited English proficiency (LEP).
The law “requires health, dental and specialty insurers to provide subscribers with translators (sic), at least by telephone, while visiting their doctor, pharmacist, ophthalmologist or dentist.”
Senate Bill 853 was officially signed in 2003, but insurance companies had until January 1, 2009 to comply with the bill.
Kudos to California for being at the forefront of providing language services to LEP residents. Let’s hope that other states follow suit.