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Health Disparities

Our HAP family is made up of people from a variety of cultures, languages and backgrounds. These differences make us a unique and diverse family. From English to Armenian, we strive to provide our family members with the information and services they need to improve their health. As you are aware, the health plan is looking for opportunities to reduce disparities. It's the difference in health outcomes and health care between groups of people. One way is to discuss health literacy.

What is health literacy?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines health literacy as "The degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions".

This means the ability to understand and process information about all aspects of health care. From reading prescription bottles to the brochures and newsletters we send and of course our member handbook! But health literacy isn't just reading text, it is understanding the conversations you have with us on the phone or in person.

Why do I have to worry about health literacy?
We may not always be clear in what we're saying to all members, no matter where they are on the health literacy scale. While we at HAP may understand the terms, acronyms and jargon used in our materials and conversations, you as a member may not. In order for you to use your plan to the fullest, we need to give you the tools to understand how.

What is plain language?
Plain language is a way to make written and spoken information easier to understand.
Plain language is NOT:

  • "Dumbing it down"
    We all prefer brief letters and communication that is to-the-point. Plain language applies to everyone and does not imply that the reader is unintelligent or uneducated.
  • Removing all medical or technical terms
    Plain language does not completely ban jargon and clinical terms. We can't always avoid using complex words and concepts, but we can use examples, analogies, and visual aids to help explain them.

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