Lifelong Learning @ UMSLIn Missouri, limited health literacy affects 1.6 million with an increasing number of studies linking limited health literacy to poor health.

According to the report, “Aging 2030,” approximately 15 percent of residents in the St. Louis region are older adults, and this number is rising. With the region being one of the most populous in the state, it stands to reason that it is confronted with a larger low literacy rate. Older adults are typically more vulnerable to health problems, which undoubtedly compound this problem. Thus, many older adults may lack the skills to manage their health and prevent diseases.

“Health care is vital. I can’t think of anything more essential to our well-being,” said Malaika Horne, director of Lifelong Learning @ UMSL. “Therefore, it is important to help older adults have a better understanding of health insurance, including navigating their complexities.”

As such, Lifelong Learning @ UMSL is putting on a symposium on March 28 to discuss health insurance literacy. The University of Missouri–St. Louis program is for older adults (50+) who not only have a love of learning but also want to make a meaningful difference in their communities.

The symposium, called “Health Insurance Literacy – Identifying Awareness and Promoting Healthy Communities,” will reach out to underserved, uninsured and underinsured older adults in the St. Louis metropolitan area and to organizations that serve and work with them. The aim is to encourage and promote health insurance literacy and its processes to promote better healthy decisions. A large contingent of health literacy specialists will be on site to discuss with participants how to be more literate and involved in this essential area of health care. Participants of all ages are invited. A light breakfast will be served.

Missouri Foundation for Health is the major funder along with the Des Lee Collaborative Vision. The program is also working closely with AAUW (American Association of University Women) and other agencies to tackle this problem. The fee is $10 through March 24, and $20 after. You can register online, but walk-ins are also welcomed.

Leslie Patterson

Leslie Patterson