October is Health Literacy Month
Amy Niles, VP of External Relations, explains the importance of creating simple and straightforward materials to explain complex healthcare topics.
Health literacy—the ability to obtain, process and understand health information and services to make smart health decisions—is a skill all of us should have. Unfortunately though, the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) estimates that over a third of U.S. adults—77 million people—have difficulty with common health tasks, like following directions on a prescription drug label or adhering to a childhood immunization schedule using a standard chart.
NAAL’s landmark study also found that although half of adults without a high school education had below basic health literacy skills, many high school and college graduates also have limited health literacy. Compared to privately insured adults, both publicly insured and uninsured adults had lower health literacy skills. And all adults, regardless of their health literacy skills, were more likely to get health information from radio, television, friends, family and health professionals than from print media.
Healthcare, prescription medication and insurance terminology is complicated and difficult to grasp for all Americans, regardless of insurance status and education level. However, it is particularly challenging for those with basic health literacy skills. Here at PAN, we are committed to helping people navigate the healthcare system, which includes making sure they have information in hand that is straightforward and easy to understand. With this information, we hope that individuals and their families are better positioned to understand their options and can make smart choices about their health. We created the following materials to do just that—we hope you will check them out and share with others. We look forward to creating more resources that will be helpful to those you serve.
- » Co-pay accumulator programs
- An explanation on how these programs may prevent you from using co-pay cards to pay for your medications.
- » High-deductible health plans
- Information on how these plans differ from traditional health insurance plans, and how they impact access to prescription medications.
- » How to talk to your healthcare provider about out-of-pocket medication costs
- Questions to ask at your next appointment about possible cost savings.
- » Out-of-pocket costs and specialty medications
- Easy-to-understand information about formulary tiers and how they affect your out-of-pocket costs.
- » 6 tips to reduce your out-of-pocket medication costs
- Quick advice for saving money on your prescription.
Source: America's Health Literacy: Why We Need Accessible Health Information. An Issue Brief from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.