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How Healthcare Literacy Can Save Lives During the COVID-19 Pandemic

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services1, only twelve (12%) percent of adults in the United States have proficient healthcare literacy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines health literacy or healthcare literacy as "the degree to which an individual has a capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions."2 The expenses of improperly accessed healthcare negatively impact both the individual and the overall cost of healthcare premiums, adding to expense for your organization as well.

That’s why it's so important for leaders to be passionate about health and healthcare literacy; the COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that healthcare literacy can save lives. It’s important to continue to learn more about healthcare literacy (resources like articles and white papers are a great place to start)— and what you can do to increase healthcare literacy for your organization because the impact, especially in the era of COVID, goes far beyond financial.

According to Dr. Iris Z. Feinberg 3 (chair of the Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy), as many as 66 million Americans have been made more vulnerable to the COVID-19 crisis due to an inability to understand the healthcare-related materials they’re presented with. While the full measure of healthcare illiteracy’s consequences have yet to be quantified, pre-pandemic numbers estimated that those with low healthcare literacy put a burden of as much as 5% on annual healthcare costs.4 These burdens could be avoided if more employers take a proactive approach to helping employees make good decisions about medical care and insurance.

As leaders in your organization, taking an active approach to providing and reinforcing proper healthcare literacy is an enormous benefit to employees and the workforce as a whole. That’s why Nonstop has created a guide to healthcare literacy that includes a five-part solution to the problem of health literacy to help guide your employees to understanding the value of their benefits and making the best decisions when it comes to their healthcare. Click here to access five steps to improved healthcare literacy.

5 Steps to Improve Your Employees’ Healthcare Literacy


The information and materials herein are provided for general information purposes only and are not intended to constitute legal or other advice or opinions on any specific matters and are not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney, plan provider or other professional advisor. This information has been taken from sources believed to be reliable, but there is no guarantee as to its accuracy. This communication does not constitute a legal opinion and should not be relied upon for any purpose other than its intended educational purpose.

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