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HHS Issues 2012 List of Counties Requiring Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (?Ç£HHS?Ç¥) recently released a list of counties that will require culturally and linguistically appropriate services in 2012 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (?Ç£PPACA?Ç¥). Section 2719 of the Public Health Service Act requires non-grandfathered group health plans and health insurance issuers offering non-grandfathered health insurance coverage to provide relevant notices in a ?Ç£culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.?Ç¥ Notices subject to the requirement include the (1) additional internal claims and appeals requirements and external review procedures for non-grandfathered plans and (2) summary of benefits and coverage. The regulations implementing Section 2719 require that certain accommodations be made for relevant notices sent to an address in counties in which 10 percent or more of the population is literate in only the same non-English language. For such counties, English versions of the applicable notices must include a statement prominently displayed in the applicable non-English language (e.g., in Spanish) indicating how to access the language services provided by the plan or issuer. Upon request, a written translation in the non-English language of applicable notices must be provided. Notably for employers in Texas, the 2012 list includes Harris County, Travis County, Bexar County, and Dallas County. The 2012 list can be found here.

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