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The path to better health is available in every language

By Kira Garcia

Member names and other details have been omitted or fictionalized to protect the members’ identity.

Getting the support you need can be hard when your first language is not English. That’s why Aetna Better Health offers multilingual resources. Translation is available in over 200 languages, and we can help you find a provider who speaks your language.

Lyla, an Aetna Better Health member whose first language is Arabic, was worried this would make things difficult for her. She and her husband both lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and needed help. They’d filed for unemployment, but the payments were not enough to make ends meet. Lyla worried about paying for basics like food and utilities, and needed social services in Arabic. Aetna’s translation services helped Lyla talk to the right person, in the language she spoke best. With this useful tool, members can reach out for help no matter their native language.

Lyla’s problem is common. There are 24 million people in the United States who speak limited English. Many worry about discussing their medical needs during doctors’ appointments. Family members must often interpret during medical visits. This means members may not understand their doctors’ advice or medicine instructions, which can cause serious problems.

Aetna Better Health care manager Olayia was alerted of Lyla’s mental health issues and stepped in to help. In her role, Olayia takes a 360-degree view of each member’s well-being. She makes sure their basic needs are met. She connects members to available services to help with food, housing and utilities.

When Olayia found out Lyla’s family could lose electricity, she helped Lyla call the utility company. It set her up with an assistance program to keep her electricity running. Olayia also connected Lyla to local food banks, where she got groceries to help feed her family. With her basic needs covered, the future felt a bit brighter for Lyla.

Olayia did all she could to help Lyla, and this level of support is common for Aetna Better Health members. Private-duty nurse Luzmaria works with care managers. She helps members who are caring for kids with special needs. And she helps them get medical devices, services and other support available to them.

Since many members speak limited English, Aetna Better Health language line is an essential tool. This translation-service phone line allows members, providers and care managers to talk in nearly any language. “If the provider tells us the family speaks another primary language, we document that, and reach for the language line.” This is even more comforting when a member is caring for a sick child.

Visit your state’s Aetna Better Health site to find out what’s available. When you do reach out, share all your challenges and needs. Luzmaria urges members to be honest. “Don’t be afraid to share with us, even when you’re in a complex situation. We’re trying to do the most for you. But we can’t if we don’t have your true issues up front.” 

When care managers have all the relevant info, they can help make sure members like Lyla stay healthy, happy and housed — in any language.

About the author

Kira Garcia is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has been published in the New Yorker, New York Magazine, Bon Appetit and elsewhere. She has also created text and marketing strategies for cultural and social service nonprofits. 

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