The Center for Health Care Strategies reports that nearly 36 percent of adults in the U.S. have low health literacy, with disproportionate rates found among lower-income Americans eligible for Medicaid.1 Individuals with low health literacy experience greater health care use and costs compared to those with proficient health literacy. Through all its impacts — medical errors, increased illness and disability, loss of wages, and compromised public health — low health literacy is estimated to cost the U.S. economy up to $236 billion every year.2
This series of fact sheets was created to help clinicians, patient advocates, and other stakeholders improve care for individuals with low health literacy. The fact sheets define health literacy; describe ways to identify low health literacy; provide strategies to improve print and oral communication for low-literate consumers; provide information about the intersection of health literacy and culture; and highlight key policies relating to health literacy. Access more facts and fact sheets available for download here.