Health Literacy 101

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October is National Health Literacy Month – a time to reflect upon the importance of understanding health care lingo as it pertains to you and your insurance benefits. 

According to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education (2006), more than 90 million Americans have basic or below-basic skills for handling health information; however, experts also contribute this to the lack of responsibility placed on the organizations and health professionals to provide easily accessible and understandable information.

Poor health literacy has led to higher rates of hospital readmission, misuse of medication(s), poor management of chronic disease, and other complications.  Moreover, research from the University of Connecticut estimates health literacy issues are costing the U.S. economy as much as $238 billion a year!!

If you or someone you know struggles with understanding their health care information, here are a few tips to ensure that communication improves in the future:

  • Prior to any doctor’s appointment, make a list of your symptoms and when they started, as well as any medication you’re currently taking.
  • Always ask questions if something is unclear.
  • Request any necessary contact information in case you have questions or experience problems later on.
  • Ask for written materials in plain language.

Although a significant gap still exists between how health professionals communicate issues and how their patients understand them, more is being done to resolve this matter.  One way is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacyclick here for a plan summary.  

At Compass Rose Benefits Group, we make every effort possible to ensure the information our members receive is clear and concise: 

Health insurance is often a dry and technical topic that can be hard to make sense of, yet health insurance coverage is easily one of the most important things people should know about. From the newsletter to member letters, I strive to ensure that our members understand all of the communications we put out.”

̶ Lindsay V., Communications Coordinator

Compass Rose Benefits Group

Don’t be in the dark when it comes to your health! Can’t find what you need?  Our Member Services Team is only a phone call away – call (866) 368-7227. Or, members can check out the Compass Rose Health Plan brochure’s list of terms, which defines key words used to explain coverage and benefits information.

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