Does the US ACA cover interpretation for psych services?
Thread poster: perfecta

perfecta
United States
Local time: 19:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
Dec 30, 2015

I can't locate where in the Affordable Care Act or ACA (Obamacare) it states if insurance pays for interpretation services when the help sought is psychological -- in this case, family therapy or marriage counseling.

Also, if interpretation is covered, does it depend on the setting, for example, yes in a hospital setting but not in a private psychologist's office?

Thanks very much for any pointers.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2016.


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Joseph Tein  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:16
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Some thoughts and suggestions: Dec 30, 2015

My guess is that it depends on the individual's medical insurance plan. While we're all covered by the ACA (in the U.S.) we have different insurance plan options at different levels of coverage and cost. I'd say it probably depends on the specific plan, and patients/clients need to check their particular plan to see if it covers counseling ... including whether interpreter services are also covered. My impression is that private insurance companies in general are pretty reluctant to pay for interpreting, and are pretty miserly in the payments they do offer for interpreting.

Something else to consider is that any provider who receives money from the federal government is forbidden from discriminating on the basis of national origin and language (among other factors) by the Civil Rights Act. That means these providers have to offer some sort of appropriate interpreting to LEP (limited English proficient) persons. The regulations are complex; do an online search for the following and you'll come up with the same document I have in my files:

"Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons" + "Federal Register" + "August 8, 2003"

Hope this helps somewhat.

Joseph Tein, M.A. (Counseling Psychology)
Certified Court Interpreter
Certified Medical Interpreter (Washington state)


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perfecta
United States
Local time: 19:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jan 1, 2016

Thank you very much, Joseph.

I've copied your response to the couple in question.
Here's hoping their policy provides the assistance they need -- or that they find a bilingual therapist.

Wishing you a happy 2016,

P.


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Does the US ACA cover interpretation for psych services?

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