Creating Culture-Centered Health and Health Insurance Literacy Resources

Lessons Learned from Haitian Creole, Mandarin, Native American, and Vietnamese Communities

Published in: Journal of Communication in Healthcare (2021). doi: 10.1080/17538068.2021.1930814

Posted on RAND.org on May 26, 2021

by Elizabeth L. Petrun Sayers, Kathryn E. Bouskill, Thomas W. Concannon, Laurie T. Martin

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Background

To improve health insurance literacy, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services launched From Coverage to Care (C2C) to help individuals translate health insurance into appropriate healthcare utilization. One aim of C2C is to extend its health communication tools to vulnerable populations, including providing materials in several languages in addition to English and Spanish. Understanding the experiences of organizations and populations that utilize these materials is critical for ensuring meaningful and effective conveyance of health literacy information.

Methods

The authors evaluated C2C, which included a qualitative case study approach of four communities using C2C products. The authors draw on findings from interviews with organizations that used C2C materials and focus groups with Haitian Creole, Mandarin, Native American, and Vietnamese consumers.

Results

Five key lessons learned are described that are relevant to public health education and campaigns. Lessons include: the importance of culture-centered materials in building empathy and trust; emphasizing appropriate and salient translations of materials; choosing targeted venues for dissemination that are responsive to the constraints and preferences of minority populations; drawing on educational tools in conjunction with individually tailored approaches; and, working with other local organizations to amplify dissemination.

Conclusions

Increasing health insurance literacy among vulnerable populations is critical. National efforts, such as C2C, are an important step, but moving beyond simply providing educational materials in additional languages and adopting a culture-centered perspective throughout an initiative is important for creating positive change.

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