EVERFI Tackles Inequality in Nation’s Healthcare System with Introduction of First Healthcare Literacy Course for Students

New program addresses barriers that lead to social disparities; students learn to make important health and financial decisions 

EVERFI Inc., the leading Impact-as-a-Service TM education innovator, announced the development of the nation’s first healthcare literacy course designed for high school students. This new digital program will empower students across the country with the knowledge to navigate a complex healthcare system, advocate for medical care, and make good financial decisions to manage their healthcare needs.  The program will be available to all high schools nationwide at no cost during the fall 2021 academic term. EVERFI will work with its strategic partners to focus on reaching students in underserved, high-risk communities in an effort to drive ecosystems of change.

Although a lack of healthcare literacy disproportionately affects lower socioeconomic and minority groups, it is a widespread concern across the country regardless of age, education level, income, or race. More than 88 percent of adults in the U.S. have a low level of health literacy, lacking the skills necessary to fully manage their healthcare and prevent disease and nearly 46 million Americans say they would struggle to afford quality healthcare. Other studies suggest adolescents have a low level of healthcare literacy and struggle with reading health-related words and describing symptoms, particularly as they begin to take ownership of their health and medical needs.  

“Systemic inequality in our healthcare system has taken a heavy toll on disadvantaged communities,” said Tom Davidson, CEO and founder of EVERFI. “This is not just a health problem. This is a financial problem. We can no longer sit back and hope that individuals learn how to effectively use our healthcare system. The negative impact on individuals and their families can be devastating financially and may put someone’s health – or life – at risk. This critical knowledge needs to exist in every high school in America.”

EVERFI’s health literacy course will use real-world scenarios to teach students how to make wise health-related decisions that promote well-being and financial stability over their lifetime. Students will learn critical thinking skills related to deciphering and interpreting health-related information and analyzing how personal choices and community-related factors can impact personal health and finances. The course will guide students on how to navigate healthcare institutions and advocate for good, quality care. Students will learn how medical care plays an important role for themselves and their family members and how to pay for it through insurance and personal finances in an effort to reduce debt. 

Medical debt affects people with health insurance. Almost a quarter of adult Americans have chosen to skip medical care due to costs and almost half of all Americans fear bankruptcy due to a medical emergency. In 2019, over $88 billion was borrowed to pay for medical costs and these were not necessarily related to lack of health insurance. The costs of medical care can be hard to understand as well as not entirely clear before care is administered. A study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Statistics also found disparities in the quality of care. Black patients tend to receive care at lower-performing hospitals than white patients, even when they live in the same hospital community. 

“In Alabama we are trying to tackle a number of issues through education to give our students a leg up when they enter their next phase of life,” said Dr. Jacqueline Brooks, superintendent of Alabama’s Macon County Schools. “Teaching students how to navigate the healthcare system is one that holds important promise for our community.  Learning how to use medical services and understanding insurance and the financial accountability that goes with healthcare decisions positions students and their families for long-term success.”

High school students have a growing capacity for processing information, thinking more about abstract ideas, and using reasoning skills. This, coupled with adolescents beginning to take control of their own healthcare needs, makes it the right time to introduce the critical concepts of healthcare literacy.

“The healthcare system in America is confusing, complex and ever-changing.  There is a need for one trusted, dynamic and centralized source of education that students, their families, and teachers can rely on,” said Davidson.  “EVERFI will fill this missing learning layer. Understanding personal healthcare needs and how to effectively fund medical expenses are two key components to building solid foundations for thriving communities for all.”

EVERFI’s health literacy course uses Bloom’s taxonomy framework of hierarchical learning and assessment and is aligned with National Health Education Standards (NHES) , Common Career Technical Core (CCTC) and Jump$tart Coalition’s National Standards for K-12 Personal Finance Education. The course will be deployed to schools and students through EVERFI’s long-established relationships with school districts across the country and through the work of its on-the-ground team of school managers. To learn more about the course or to request it for your school visit everfi.com.

About EVERFI, Inc. 

EVERFI is an international technology company driving social change through education to address the most challenging issues affecting society ranging from financial wellness to prescription drug safety to workplace conduct and other critical topics. Founded in 2008, EVERFI is fueled by its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) community engagement platform and has reached more than 41 million learners globally. In 2020, the company was recognized as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company and was featured on Fortune Magazine’s Impact 20 list. Some of America’s leading CEOs and venture capital firms are EVERFI investors including Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Twitter founder Evan Williams, as well as Advance, Rethink Education, Rethink Impact, The Rise Fund, and TPG Growth. To learn more about EVERFI and how you can #answerthecall please visit everfi.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter @EVERFI.

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