October is Health Literacy Month, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Health literacy is the ability to read, understand, and act on information about your health and about health services. When someone doesn't clearly understand the medical information given to them, they are more likely to skip necessary tests, end up in the emergency room, and have a harder time managing a chronic disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Another important aspect of health literacy is improving the communication between patients and health care providers. "When people receive accurate, easy-to-use information about a health issue, they are better able to take action to protect and promote their health and wellness," says the Department of Health and Human Services. From understanding how and when to take the medicines prescribed by your doctor, to navigating a new way to purchase health insurance, becoming more health literate is one of the best ways to help you and your family stay well.
Both Medicare Part D and the Affordable Care Act's health insurance marketplaces open for enrollment this month, and it's important to understand how each program works so that you can make the best choices for your health. Luckily, there are plenty of resources to help you make the right choice of coverage. If you're a Medicare Part D beneficiary, Medicare.gov has comprehensive information about choosing a plan. If you're looking for information about how to compare and purchase health insurance through a marketplace, visit Healthcare.gov for online or in-person help.
What's your health literacy IQ? Find out below!