The Mission Center

The Mission Center Joins Health Insurance Literacy Team

May 21, 2014 Posted by The Mission Center - No Comments

Literacy Team


St. Louis, Mo. – Health Literacy Missouri (HLM) has received a $499,998 grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) to pioneer new methods for increasing health insurance literacy across the state.

HLM, along with three community partners, The Mission Center, The International Institute of St. Louis and the University of Missouri Extension, received the funding to provide training and technical assistance in health insurance literacy for MFH’s Expanding Coverage initiative. The grant is renewable for up to four years.

“We are extremely thankful to the foundation for placing its confidence in us to do this very important work,” said Dr. Catina O’Leary, HLM president and CEO. “Our community-focused proposal will launch a large-scale effort to help Missourians in finding, choosing, maintaining and using health insurance.”

Recent research has shown that 60 percent of the population eligible for enrollment in the health insurance Marketplace doesn’t understand key health insurance concepts, such as premiums, co-insurance, or deductibles. Health insurance literacy is even lower among those eligible for Marketplace subsidies or Medicaid, but who are currently uninsured. Low insurance literacy levels can influence coverage, access to health care, and affordability.

The MFH’s Expanding Coverage Initiative began in 2013 with the goal to reduce the uninsured rate in Missouri to less than five percent in five years. As part of the initiative, stakeholders across the state have been convening as the Cover Missouri Coalition to share learning and best practices, maximize resources, identify challenges and opportunities, and build an inclusive plan to insure Missourians.

HLM and its partners, who have been working with the coalition since its inception, will take a collaborative community approach to layer health insurance literacy efforts onto the existing Cover Missouri framework.

“Health insurance literacy is all about consumers,” said M. Ryan Barker, MFH Vice President of Health Policy. “This initiative will allow Health Literacy Missouri to provide support to Cover Missouri participants, who work every day to help Missourians understand how to select and use health insurance.”

The project will fund programs and products to increase the capacity of coalition members to effectively conduct health insurance literacy activities and increase consumer knowledge, ability and confidence to find and evaluate health plans, select the best plan for their own circumstances and use the plan once enrolled.

HLM, a national leader in health literacy efforts, chose project partners that would bring targeted expertise, including health insurance (The Mission Center), cultural and linguistic issues (The International Institute St. Louis), and community outreach (University of Missouri Extension).

Based in St. Louis, HLM is the largest health literacy non-profit in the country, established in 2009 by founding advisors from three universities and the Missouri Foundation for Health. The organization brings together a wide range of health care providers, advocates and organizations with individual missions but a common goal: To help people make good health decisions every day.

MFH is a philanthropic organization whose vision it is to improve the health of the people in the communities it serves.

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