Sarah Borders, CEBS January 5, 2024 4 min read

Departments Release FAQ on ACA Requirement to Provide Non-English Language Notices

The Departments issued FAQ guidance related to the 2023 Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) County Data, which gives a revised list of counties that have a population of 10% or more that is literate in the same non-English language and model taglines.

As a reminder, non-grandfathered group health plans and issuers must provide relevant notices in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner and must make accommodations for notices sent to an address in a county meeting a threshold of 10% or more of the population who is literate only in the same non-English language.

Q1 and related guidance include a list of these counties and sample taglines stating how to access language services provided by the plan or insurance carrier in each of the languages that meet the 10% or more threshold.

Specifically, non-grandfathered plans are required to distribute the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) and claims and appeals notices consistent with the guidance for plan years starting on or after January 1, 2025.

The Departments intend to issue new SBC templates and model notices for internal claims and appeals and external review with updated taglines in the applicable non-English languages.  Employers with employees in these counties will need to ensure these notifications are provided in accordance with the new rules.


Sarah Borders, CEBS

Principal, Benefits Compliance Solutions. Sarah has spent the last 15 years in the employee benefits industry, has numerous designations and serves on NAHU’s Employer Working Group Subcommittee and is an active board member of Austin AHU. She recently stepped down as Vice President of Benefits Compliance at one of the nation's largest brokerage firms to start her own compliance consulting practice. Her designations include an active license with the Texas Department of Insurance, CEBS (Certified Employee Benefits Specialist), Certified Health Care Reform Professional, HIPAA certification and Health Care Service Associate. She holds an MBA from Texas A&M Corpus Christi and a BA from University of Incarnate Word. Her consulting firm, Benefits Compliance Solutions, partners with employers to identify unknown risks and avoid hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and lawsuits from failure to comply with their healthplan obligations.