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Maximizing Open Enrollment through Non-English Markets

Insurers and health plans focus on two primary functions; growing members and reducing expense. Maximizing open enrollment is essential to the financial health of all healthcare payers. Savvy insurers and health plans recognize the importance of non-English markets in increasing members through open enrollment.

Here are several steps that your organization can take to ensure you are maximizing open enrollment in these key Non-English markets.

Identify the uninsured

The uninsured represent 30.1 million individuals or roughly 11% of the non-subsidy eligible population. Ethnic minorities tend to lead un-insured rates.

For example, ethnic minorities represented $3.6 trillion in purchasing power in 2017. Hispanics accounted for $1.7 trillion. Additionally, Hispanics spent over $10 billion on health, wellness, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter products. Yet only 1 in 3 Hispanics is insured.

About 75% of U.S. Hispanics speak Spanish at home and about one-third of Hispanics say they’re not proficient in English.

Ensuring your communications are in the language of your target markets is vital to ensuring success.

Audit your member facing functions

Auditing the member facing functions across your organization will give you insight into high-frequency encounters and touch points, as well as into areas that are vital to open enrollment.

Generally, there are 5 key areas each plan will want to audit. These include:

  • Marketing
  • Membership
  • Customer Care
  • Claims
  • Pharmacy

Once you have identified these key areas, inventory your client facing documentation and key customer touch points. Ensuring all of your client facing communications have been localized and are in the languages of your target markets not only ensures regulatory compliance but also increases member enrollment through ease of comprehension. Taking an inventory of your client facing communications helps you to understand the scope and magnitude of the assets that will need to be localized.

At a high-level, client facing communications generally include:

  • Digital assets
    • Social media
    • Website
  • Documentation
    • Marketing brochures
    • Sales kits
    • Summary of Benefits
    • Enrollment materials
    • Welcome kits
    • Formularies
  • Member communication
    • Member letters
    • Calls

Digital Assets and Documentation

By defining quality through 3 key linguistic assets, organizations create a centralized authority to ensure consistency, efficiency and provide guidance when working with digital assets and documentation.

Establish style guides, glossaries, and translation memories

  • Style Guides generally dictate the style of a document or documents and how the content within that document is to be handled. Style guides may communicate font and spacing preferences, date formats, template instructions, and language register.
  • Glossaries dictate the translation of key terminology from one language to another in order to ensure consistency.
  • Translation memories refer to a class of technology tools that empower translators to leverage repeated text and other units of meaning. The use of translation memories greatly improves consistency and turnaround times.

Establish timelines for document creation, revision, translation, and review

The Insurance industry is driven by annual calendar workflows centering on the release of CMS data in June and Open Enrollment beginning in November. Document lifecycles should be sure to include time for translation, localization, and review. A true language services partner will mirror your timelines and understand how best to update plans and templates from one year to the next.

Understand and plan for alternate formats

Alternate formats such as large print, audio, and braille ensure effective communication with disabled members and ensure regulatory compliance with the American with Disabilities Act. Understanding the need for and the production workflows of alternate formats will allow you to integrate them into your normal workflows.

Member Communications

In 2017, Hispanics represented 12% of exchange enrollees and over 1 million calls required the assistance of a Spanish speaker. Ensuring quick “in-language” communication is vital to ensuring the success of open enrollment.

Member calls

Ensuring that you have qualified bilingual staff is essential to handling potential member queries. Ensure your organization has a qualified testing mechanism in place to validate the fluency of your direct hires. ISI Language Solutions supports our clients through our Interpreter Training Assessment Program, available online and on-demand as needed. To learn more please click here.

As call volumes can be variable, it is also important to ensure that you have a trusted partner to handle call overflow to provide interpretation for languages you may not have internally.

Member letters

Member letters are generally the result of multiple templated versions utilized across several organizational departments sent over to the printer in bulk. It is important to know how many templates and how many versions of each template exist. Ensuring consistency in template formatting is key to ensuring a smooth handoff with your printer. Ensure your language services partner understands your template methodology and standards so that they can be mirrored in the target language.  For example, ISI utilizes proprietary technologies to ensure template consistency. This results in the elimination of hundreds of monthly work hours empowering organizations to meet the strictest of regulatory deadlines.

Interested in learning more? Download the whitepaper here!

Contact Us

ISI Language Solutions has been helping leading insurers for over 36 years. We would love to help you. Contact us today at



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