Does your health plan understand you?

Does your health plan understand you?

When choosing benefits Hispanics need more than words


–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – CONTEXTO LATINO)–When it comes to choosing health insurance, Hispanics need a plan that does more than speak their language. Hispanic consumers need a health plan that focuses on their unique preferences and addresses the health conditions that affect them most frequently. They can benefit from culturally sensitive service and products to help them and their families stay physically and financially healthy.

To help them choose the benefits plan that best serves them and their families, here are some questions they should ask to help guide their decisions:

How does my family benefit from having health insurance?

Health care is expensive. One serious health incident could cost tens of thousands of dollars, potentially devastating a family’s finances. Yet, according to the 2006 U.S. Census, 34.1 percent of Hispanics have no health insurance.

The Institute of Medicine reported that people without health insurance are less healthy and die sooner than people who have insurance.

To protect both your family’s physical and financial health, consider a health plan that best meets your lifestyle and life stage. Many plans are available that cover medical care, dental care and prescription drug coverage, at different prices. Many plans offer additional programs and discounts to help keep you healthy and stretch your health care dollars. Disability insurance can pay some medical and household expenses if you become disabled and can no longer work. Take a careful look at what is most important to you and your family, and choose a plan that has benefits that best meet those needs.

Does the plan give me information I can understand to help me get the care I need?

Consumers have to make a lot of decisions, from choosing a doctor to selecting a hospital or surgery center for medical procedures, so it’s important to get the information you need and to understand it. If Spanish is your first or preferred language, ask your benefits manager or health plan customer service representative if medical and dental plan summaries, brochures and other materials are available in Spanish. Go to the plan’s Web site to look for information and tools — in Spanish — that can help you locate doctors and hospitals, compare the outcomes of hospitals or look up claims and other information. And make sure you understand the industry terms and jargon used in your plan materials. Look for a listing of common terms and their definitions in plan materials and online.

How can I find Spanish-speaking doctors?

Understanding that many Hispanics prefer to receive health information in Spanish, plans should have participating doctors who are bilingual. To help members find these doctors, they should make it quick and easy for members to identify Spanish-speaking health care providers. Look for special notations in provider directories that indicate what language(s) a doctor speaks. Some plans also offer a special search feature in their online directories.

Does the plan include doctors and hospitals close to my home, and who I can trust to understand my needs?

Find out if the plan’s network includes doctors and hospitals near where you live and work, and who may know your community. They may better understand the cultural preferences, needs and health conditions that affect the Hispanic population most often.

How can the health plan help me balance work and family?

Think about when and where it is easiest for you to visit your doctor. Some plans include doctors who offer appointments after work or on the weekend. Some plans also cover care provided at walk-in clinics in retail stores. These clinics can offer members a convenient alternative for minor health care services, without an appointment. However, you should only consider using participating walk-in clinics if you aren’t able to get an appointment with your regular doctor.

Health insurance helps protect your family’s health and financial well-being. With demands on family budgets, it is important to choose a plan that you can afford and that meets your needs. Be sure to understand all the benefits and programs available to you, and if you have questions, ask your employer or the health plan customer service representative. Leading companies have Spanish-speaking service teams to answer your questions and ensure you have everything you need to make informed decisions.

You can find answers to more questions you might have at and, a Spanish-language Web site from Aetna and the Financial Planning Association (FPA) can also help Spanish-speaking consumers make smart health benefits and financial planning decisions throughout their lives.

Does your health plan understand you?