Health Insurance Literacy

The following tools and resources are intended to help build the health literacy and health insurance literacy of RWHAP managers, staff, enrollment assisters, and clients.

Basics of Health Literacy

Personal health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others. Organizations also have a role in ensuring clients are able to effectively engage in care. Organizational health literacy is the degree to which organizations equitably enable individuals to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others (Healthy People 2030). 

Health insurance literacy is defined as “the degree to which individuals have the knowledge, ability, and confidence to find and evaluate information about health insurance plans, select the best plan for their own (or their own family’s) financial and health circumstances, and use the plan once enrolled” (Alliance for Health Reform, 2017). 

Both health literacy and health insurance literacy are important factors that affect people’s ability and confidence to: (1) navigate complex health-related scenarios, (2) enroll in appropriate health coverage, (3) use their coverage effectively, (4) stay covered throughout the lifespan, and (5) manage their HIV and other health conditions. 

Health Insurance Literacy Tools and Resources

  • Health Insurance Literacy Basics
    This resource is a self-paced, interactive course designed to build the health insurance literacy of RWHAP program staff. Participants will learn how to: define health insurance literacy, use key health insurance terms correctly in conversations with clients, help clients understand their health coverage options, and help clients use and keep their health coverage. 

  • Plain Language Glossary
    The Plain Language Glossary is a quick guide to common health insurance terms in plain language intended for both RWHAP program staff and clients. The glossary is also available in Spanish, Haitian Creole, and as an English/Spanish Comparison Table.

  • Health Literacy Resource Guide
    This resource guide provides a curated overview of health literacy resources, organizational assessments, client assessments, and toolkits that your HIV program can use to begin or enhance efforts to provide services that meet the needs of clients with limited health literacy. The resources in this guide can be adapted to a variety of health care settings.

  • In It Together Health Literacy Project
    This resource provides an overview of the In It Together Health Literacy Project, a training initiative designed to help health professionals incorporate health literacy approaches into their services in order to improve engagement and retention in HIV care and treatment. The project launched in 2014 and ended in June 2019. There were two In It Together training initiatives: (1) Improving Health Literacy for All, designed for health professionals serving a diverse spectrum of people with and at risk for HIV, and (2) Improving Health Literacy for Black MSM, designed for health professionals serving Black/African American gay, bisexual, same gender loving men, and other men who have sex with men (MSM).