Understanding Health Literacy and Enrollment

by Kirsten Reed on February 16, 2012

Enroll America, has released a new issue brief which will help providers design outreach and enrollment materials that are easy for patients to understand and act on. More than half of the nearly 50 million uninsured Americans have either basic or below-basic health literacy. Health literacy is the ability to find, understand, and use complex information in order to make decisions about health care.

Nearly half of all Americans find it difficult to understand and use health-related materials that are written above an eighth-grade level however, most health-related materials are written at a tenth-grade level making it nearly impossible for most people to make appropriate choices about their care. With insurance coverage expansions in the Affordable Care Act and the new coverage options that will be available, it’s important for people to understand their choices in order to be able to access coverage.

In an effort to help people understand their health care options and to ensure that people are provided with the information they need to choose what’s best for them, Enroll America has partnered with MAXIMUS Center for Health Literacy to create a series of issue briefs on best practices for writing and designing materials that are clear, easy to read, and that make it easier for people to enroll in health coverage.

The first installment, “An Introduction to Health Literacy And Enrollment,” provides an introduction to why health literacy is important, particularly when it comes to communicating effectively with the uninsured.

Click here to view the second issue, “Communicating in Plain Language,” which offers 10 easy steps for writing clear, concise, user-friendly materials and focuses on the language used in written materials such as applications, renewal forms, notices, explanatory materials and brochures.


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