A bill that would require no-fault car insurance medical benefits to include oral and sign language interpreters needed for medical care has been introduced in both Houses of the Minnesota legislature. Representative Andy Dawkins is sponsoring House File 684, and Senator Sandy Pappa is sponsoring the Senate companion bill (Senate File 521). The bill would amend and clarify the existing law to explicitly include interpreter costs in automobile insurance coverage. However, if a family member is used to translate, insurance companies would be exempt from paying for interpretation.
Physicians point to the importance of proper communication with their patients. “Most of the information that allows a physician to make a diagnosis and plan appropriate treatment comes from what the patient tells us about their problems,” said Bruce Tennenbaum, M.D., a neurologist working in Minneapolis. “It is, therefore, extremely important to have a clear understanding of what our patients are relating to us.”
Other bills have been introduced that address the need for translator certification as well as reimbursement for translation services through health care insurance. At this time, it is unclear whether hearings will be set for these bills.