Medicare Advantage plans and Part D plans are required to have services for people who speak limited English. All plans must have translator services available when someone who doesn’t speak English calls them. This includes calls from people who are currently enrolled in the plan and people who are interested in enrolling. If the plan doesn’t have a translator who can assist you when you call, you should file a grievance with your plan.
Starting in 2012, plans must also make materials available in languages that more than 5 percent of people in the plan’s service area speak. A service area is the geographic area that you must live in to have that plan. Materials that Medicare Advantage plans and Part D plans must translate if at least 5 percent of the population in the plan’s service area speak the language are:
- Enrollment materials
- Directory of pharmacies in the plan’s network
- Directory of providers in the plan’s network
- The plan’s formulary (list of covered drugs)
- Letters about transition fills for Part D drugs
- Plan ratings that show how the plan compares to other plans
These translated documents must be on the plan’s website. You can also ask that the plan mail them to you. Plans aren’t required to mail you with these documents unless you ask for them. Private plans must also put statements on all these materials that say that they’re available in other languages. The statements must be written in each language that at least 5 percent of the people in the plan’s service area speak. They must also include a phone number that you can call to ask about information in other languages.