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Do You Speak Health Insurance? Grant Aims To Build Literacy

PHOTO: Selecting an insurance plan is just one of many complicated steps toward living a healthier life, according to Health Literacy Missouri, which will use a recent grant to help more Missourians understand the health choices they face. Photo credit: drummer boy/morguefile.com
PHOTO: Selecting an insurance plan is just one of many complicated steps toward living a healthier life, according to Health Literacy Missouri, which will use a recent grant to help more Missourians understand the health choices they face. Photo credit: drummer boy/morguefile.com
May 5, 2014

ST. LOUIS - It's not taught in school, but making decisions about health insurance has now become an important issue for many Missourians. That's why one group is working hard to boost the state's health insurance I.Q.

Catina O'Leary, president and CEO, Health Literacy Missouri, says the nonprofit recently received a grant that will allow them to expand their work during this historic moment, when so many Missourians have access to health insurance for the very first time.

"So, it's finding the plan, choosing the plan, using it, paying for it. What we're helping people do is kind of break that down into different steps and help people understand each phase of the process," O'Leary says.

Thanks to the $500,000 grant, she explains, Health Literacy will work through the Cover Missouri coalition to provide programs, services, and events for organizations and consumers across the state.

O'Leary says even those who are not newly insured often lack the knowledge needed to get the most out of their coverage.

"Only about 13 percent of the population really is at a proficient level, and understanding health insurance requires proficiency. So our job to help people access and understand it is really critically important," she adds.

The grant, from the Missouri Foundation for Health, is part of an effort launched last year with the goal of reducing the uninsured rate in Missouri to less than 5 percent in five years.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO