The array of terminology involved in health insurance can be difficult for a patient to grasp, especially if they already have a medical issue that they’re trying to address. We've rounded up several resources to help your patients improve their health literacy and make more informed health care decisions.
A recent study by UnitedHealthGroup reported that increased health literacy leads to better outcomes. Not only does increased health literacy help people make informed decisions and give them a better health care experience, but the study also says, “Medicare beneficiaries in counties with the highest health literacy levels experience better outcomes than those living in counties with the lowest health literacy levels, including: 31% more flu shots, 26% fewer avoidable hospitalizations, 18% fewer emergency department visits, 13% lower costs per beneficiary, [and] 9% fewer hospital readmissions.”
Here are a few resources for you and your patients to help them improve their health literacy and reap these same benefits.
CDC health literacy and health communication pages
The CDC has a page on their website dedicated to health literacy, offering information on why and how health literacy issues occur, even in highly developed countries like the United States. The page offers practical resources for providers including studies that show how health literacy problems can affect their patients.
There's also the Gateway to Health Communication, which has abundant resources for health communicators. You can listen to podcasts, read the Health Communication Science Digest, find writing resources, and more.
National Library of Medicine’s multi-language resource page
Sometimes, health literacy is caused by a language barrier. If your patient’s first language is different than yours, it can be much harder for them to understand complicated medical terms. The National Library of Medicine is dedicated to compiling consumer health information in multiple languages. They have links to resources for those who speak specific languages - like Spanish, French, Chinese, American Sign Language, and more - as well as links to resources that are made in multiple languages. These links encompass a wide variety of information, from cultural competency to immunization resources to HIV/AIDS information.
AllWays Health Partners Fall/Winter 2019 member newsletter
AllWays Health Partners’ Fall/Winter 2019 member newsletter has a section all about preventative care, explaining in simple terms what preventative and diagnostic services are, and when and how cost-sharing comes into play. The newsletter also covers the different types of cost-sharing, explaining what they are and in what situations a member might need to pay them. By using this newsletter as a reference, your patients will better understand the services that are covered under their plans and be more likely to know when they have to pay instead of being surprised.
Urgent vs. emergency care post on AllWays Insider
Earlier this year, our employer blog AllWays Insider posted an article about the different options for getting care and which options are best for which situations. The article discusses retail health clinics, virtual visits, urgent care centers, emergency rooms and when a patient should utilize each kind of care. It comes with a handy infographic that you can share with your patients, condensing the information into an easy-to-read and understand format.
6 health care terms to know from AllWays Insider
A more recent post on AllWays Insider describes 6 types of important health care terms for employees to know. This information is also applicable to your patients, who need it to make informed medical decisions. In addition to covering cost-sharing and types of care in detail as the previously-mentioned flyer does, this article also defines and describes the different types of health plans, the people who use and administer health care services, types of savings accounts, and a few other miscellaneous health care terms that are useful to know.
With all of the above information, your patients will be on the right track to understanding health insurance and making good decisions about their health care.