In order for people with disabilities to participate effectively in the Marketplace, they require meaningful access to information being provided. For example, Navigator organizations that are conducting outreach to inform members of their communities about the availability of health insurance through the Marketplace should indicate on flyers and other print and digital announcements that print materials distributed at such gatherings can be provided in alternative formats such as Braille when people who are blind request them. One way that navigator organizations can build their capacity to produce documents in formats such as Braille is to develop relationships with community groups that can assist them. People with other visual and sensory disabilities may also require alternative formats such as audio, digital, and large print, which navigator organizations can produce in-house relatively easily and inexpensively when they are needed. Similarly, navigator organizations should indicate on print and digital announcements that accommodations such as Sign Language interpreters, assistive listening devices, and Computer Aided Real-Time Transcription (CART) are available when people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing request them so they will be able to understand what is being said.
Similarly, when Navigators counsel individuals face-to-face about their insurance options and assist them to enroll in healthcare coverage through the Marketplace, print materials, such as Qualified Health Plan (QHP) provider directories, should be provided in accessible formats and Sign Language interpreters provided when people who are deaf request them for effective communication. Some people with cognitive, intellectual, or other related disabilities might require additional time and repetition in order to understand the options being presented and have adequate opportunity to ask questions and make decisions. Navigators who provide answers at a literacy level that meets individual needs will help to ensure effective communication.
When people with communication disabilities telephone navigator organizations for assistance, Navigators should be aware of methods of communication these callers might use. For example, people who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who have speech disabilities may use the Telephone Relay Service (TRS), which is a telephone service that allows people with hearing or speech disabilities to place and receive telephone calls. Telecommunications Relay Service is available in all US states and territories for local and long-distance calls at no additional cost to the consumer or the places that they call. (See “What types of accommodations should Navigators know about?” for more information on providing alternative formats, Sign Language interpreters, CART, Telecommunications Relay Service and other methods for ensuring effective communication.)