Humana study builds on health literacy efforts

Asking Medicare Advantage members a single question over the phone can help determine their health literacy status, a study from Humana published in the American Journal of Managed Care Feb. 7 found. 

Humana researchers devised questions to ask new Medicare Advantage members about their levels of health literacy and perceived health discrimination. According to a Feb. 7 news release from Humana, the study is the first from a managed care plan examining structural determinants of health. 

The study found 20% of respondents reported low health literacy, and patients who reported limited health literacy were more likely to be Black, have a low income, report feeling lonely or isolated, and experience food insecurity. 

The study also tried to gauge levels of perceived health discrimination by asking members if they felt their experiences seeking healthcare were better, worse or the same as those of other races. The question had a low response rate, and some customer advocates were uncomfortable asking members questions about discrimination, the study found. 

Learnings from the pilot program led to a number of programs across Humana's business, J. Nwando Olayiwola, MD, Humana's chief health equity officer, said in the release. 

"We have expanded screening to digital and live modalities, strengthened our staff capabilities around understanding and responding to low/limited health literacy, and improved engagement with our members," Dr. Olayiwola said. 

Humana has undertaken a companywide initiative to train every employee on promoting health literacy, Chief Medical Officer Kate Goodrich, MD, told Becker's in October. 

Read the full study here.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Top 40 articles from the past 6 months