Plan to protect patients from deceptive marketing of health care signed into law by governor

October 01, 2013

Sen. Ted W. Lieu: Consumer-protection measure requires translation into other languages

SACRAMENTO – Up to six million Californians newly eligible for health coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act will now have greater protections against getting deceived under a Sen. Ted W. Lieu bill signed into law today by Gov. Brown.
 
“I commend Gov. Brown for signing this measure the same day that the federal Affordable Care Act takes effect,” Lieu said about Senate Bill 353. “Despite a misguided shutdown of the federal government, we in California are moving forward to provide health care protections to those who need it most.”

Under current law, a health insurer could market to a non-English speaking population, such as Korean, and not provide the vital information needed for the potential enrollee to fully understand their rights or benefits. Under Lieu’s new law, however, insurance providers would be required to translate and provide key documents in all languages they market in

Supported by nearly two dozen health and minority-interest groups, SB 353 will help ensure that Californians have appropriate and accurate information they will need to enroll in health care coverage, beginning today, by strengthening consumer protections, closing gaps in current state laws, and requiring fair and accurate marketing materials. 

Lieu’s bill also ensures Limited English Proficient and immigrant communities have the information they need to enroll in health care that best meets their needs by requiring health plans that advertise in non-English languages to provide certain written documents in those languages.

“Communities of color and patients who do not speak English well stand to benefit the most from health care reform but these communities tend to know the least about the Affordable Care Act,” stated Ellen Wu, executive director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, one of the sponsors of Lieu’s legislation. “SB 353 is critical for the 40 percent of Californians who do not speak English at home and to ensure the overall success of the ACA.”

For more, including a Fact Sheet on SB 353, visit Lieu’s Web site at the address below.

Ted W. Lieu represents the more than 1 million residents of Senate District 28, which includes the cities of Beverly Hills, Carson, El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Santa Monica, Torrance, West Hollywood and the Palos Verdes Peninsula as well as portions of Long Beach and Los Angeles including, Beverly Glenn, Brentwood, Cheviot Hills, Harbor City, Hollywood Hills, Marina del Rey, Mar Vista, Pacific Palisades, Playa del Rey, San Pedro, Venice, Westwood and Wilmington. See a district map HERE: For more, visit www.senate.ca.gov/lieu.