Insurance Expansion and Health Literacy


(The Journal of the American Medical Association)

Doctor talking with a senior patient with a walking stick, photo by RealPeopleGroup/Getty Images

Photo by RealPeopleGroup/Getty Images

by Laurie T. Martin and Ruth M. Parker

August 9, 2011

Over the next 3 years, state and local officials will be responsible for reaching out to and enrolling more than 30 million individuals in publicly funded or subsidized health plans offered through state insurance exchanges. Because low health literacy tends to be more prevalent in certain minority groups and among those with low income and education, the majority of the newly eligible individuals are likely to have low health literacy.​ Failure to meet enrollment goals will not only undermine the credibility and success of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) but, more importantly, will do little to expand health insurance coverage and improve access to care among those at greatest need....

The remainder of this commentary can be found at

JAMA. 2011;306(8):874-875.

This commentary originally appeared in The Journal of the American Medical Association on August 9, 2011. Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis.