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Health care law presents Oklahoma culture challenge

By TIM TALLEY Published: March 4, 2013
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — One of the challenges in launching the new federal health insurance exchange in Oklahoma will be marketing it to the state's non-English speaking population. But state officials say the government has offered no proposals to reach out to them.

U.S. Census Bureau estimates from 2007 indicate more than 276,163 Oklahoma residents, or 8.2 percent of the state's population, speak a language other than English at home. Of those, 120,658 say they speak English less than very well. Most non-English speakers, more than 180,000, speak Spanish.

A spokesman for the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services says the agency is developing a plan to raise consumer awareness about new coverage opportunities in 2014 and is committed to making information available is culturally appropriate ways, including reaching a large Spanish speaking population.