Updated: Oct 22, 2018
“I wish I had known that before!”
If I had a dollar for every time someone said that after they learned something that helps them make better use of their pharmacy benefits, I would be writing this post from my tropical vacation home.
When it comes to pharmacy benefits and health insurance in general, the natural reaction for most of us is to stick our head in the sand, take things at face value, and not ask questions. But as health care costs rise and financial responsibility increases for the health care consumer, it is more critical than ever for consumers to understand their benefits to make more informed decisions.
So, we all just need to figure out how to be better health care consumers. Simple enough, right? Not quite. For starters, there is the not so small issue of health literacy. This is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Health insurance is a complex system, and to effectively understand it, requires a health literacy skill level that research shows only 12 percent of English-speaking adults in the United States possess.
Twelve. Percent. That means almost 9 out of 10 English-speaking adults in the United States have limited health literacy to some extent. Research shows that limited health literacy is more common in some groups of people, but people from all backgrounds are impacted by it in some way.
As a pharmacist, I have experienced this with patients first-hand. Time and again after helping a patient with an insurance issue, I would be left thinking, “I wish I could do more,” or “There has to be a better way.” But soon after, I would have to move on to the next patient or task. These thoughts and experiences never left me, though, and now I am taking the time to join the effort of promoting health literacy. This is why Guidepost Rx was founded.
It is time to inform yourself about pharmacy benefits and health care. At Guidepost Rx, we take the complex subject of pharmacy benefits, and make it understandable and relatable, leading to more engaged and empowered health care consumers.
1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2000). Healthy People 2010 (2nd ed.) [with Understanding and Improving Health (vol. 1) and Objectives for Improving Health (vol. 2)]. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2010). National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy. Washington, DC: Author.