Insurers work to improve health literacy

Knowledge gaps include jargon and the importance of primary care

Healthcare talk is confusing enough for consumers who have a long history of coverage. It is even more so for the newly insured, which include the eight million Americans who purchased coverage during this past enrollment period. 

So to help educate consumers, hospitals, clinics, insurers and health advocacy groups are stepping up their efforts to help the lower-income and newly insured understand their new coverage, according to the New York Times. 

The health insurance knowledge gap runs the gamut from the pesky industry words--premium, deductible, copay--to understanding why having and using a primary care physician is better than relying on emergency department for care.

Insurers are dedicating time and resources to improve healthcare literacy and ease member confusion. This summer, Independence Blue Cross has the Independence Express, a tractor-trailer traveling the Philadelphia region offering educational seminars to providers and groups that help consumers enroll in marketplace plans. IBX is also reaching out to new members by telephone to make sure they understand their insurance, notes the Times

Advocates believe teaching the newly insured to be smart healthcare consumers is critical to reduce healthcare costs. People who have low levels of health literacy are more likely to be hospitalized and use costly emergency rooms--only one in 10 people has an adequate level of health literacy, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.  

For more information:
- here's the New York Times article

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