Health illiteracy is expensive, prevalent, and largely overlooked. Did you know that health literacy is the single strongest determinant of health status, life expectancy and medical costs? Did you know that only 1 in 9 people has proficient health literacy? In spite of the known benefits of health literacy, did you know that the practice of medicine does not test or document a patient's understanding of treatments or intent to comply? Do you realize that health plans and wellness programs don't financially reward doctors or patients for improving health literacy? Did you know that re-insurers will offer discounts on stop-loss coverage to employers that adopt health literacy programs?
In an important, large-scale study, researchers found that those with low health literacy were nearly twice as expensive to cover. Therefore, a large portion of medical expenses could be avoided if people understood the basics of self-care.
Presenter Jeff Greene, an expert and innovator in the field of health literacy, will present the results from two case studies that show how improving health literacy reduces ER visits, hospitalizations and costs. The studies have just been selected by the Health Literacy Research Conference (HARC) for presentation at its 10th annual convention this fall, in Bethesda, MD.