In spring 2016, the Departments of Health Care Policy & Financing and Human Services, the Governor's Office of Information Technology, and Connect for Health Colorado partnered on a research project to inform and improve member eligibility correspondence.
Our hope is that the research project will lay a strong foundation and give us tools to improve our joint eligibility correspondence. The research project took a four pronged approach to engage our partners, members, and communications experts in the field of plain language. We chose to focus on the four letters that would reach nearly every member. The letters include:
- The Notice of Action,
- Redetermination/Renewal Letter,
- Income and Eligibility Verification System Letter, and
- Verification Checklist Letter.
The goal is for the learnings from these four letters to allow us to improve other letters as resources as opportunities become available in the future.
The research project included four major phases:
- Stakeholder Engagement: Gathering stakeholder feedback from across the state and a variety of partners
- Developing New Correspondence: Developing new correspondence and language based on stakeholder feedback, best practices, and learnings from other states
- Consumer Testing: Conducting member testing across the state with a wide variety members, and
- Policy, Legal and County Review: Now, we are working to get legal, policy and county feedback on the revised correspondence.
During Phase I, II and III we engaged plain language experts to help guide our work. The final reports and recommendations from the experts are below. We have also developed a brief webinar to review the research project's findings.
- Webinar: Overview of Research Project and Findings
- Phase I: Stakeholder Engagement‚ Joining Vision and Action (JVA) Final Report and Recommendations
- Phase II & III: Developing New Correspondence and Consumer Testing‚ Center for Health Literacy Final Report and Recommendations
We are now beginning Phase IV of this work. In this phase we will continue to work with our policy experts at each agency and legal partners to review our re-drafted correspondence and incorporate plain language best practices. Additionally, we plan to engage county partners in the review of the revised correspondence. During this time we will also be investigating with our partners and technical experts the feasibility of future changes to align with the recommendations and findings.
Plain Language Best Practices and Tools
According to the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, less than 12% of adults have proficient health literacy. To help address some of the challenges we face when communicating often complex information to a diverse audience, the Department of Health Care Policy & Financing worked with plain language experts to create plain language best practices and tools. We do not intend this list to be comprehensive and strongly encourage taking extra time when identifying your target audience of a communication. Audience identification is an important step that can help guide your written and verbal communications.
We have developed a brief webinar to review the plain language best practices as well as developed two tools to help promote plain language writing.
You can find other plain language and health insurance literacy tools at: