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Literacy Rate - Percent of Adults in Each Health Literacy Level by Type of Insurance Coverage, United States 2003

Examples of Tasks at Each Health Literacy Level

Below Basic: "Read a set of short instructions, and identify what is permissible to drink before a medical test."
Basic: "Read a pamphlet, give two reasons a person with no symptoms should be tested for a disease."
Intermediate: "Read instructions on a prescription label, and determine what time a person can take the medication."
Proficient: "Using a table, calculate an employee's share of health insurance costs for a year."

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion:  Health Communication Activities, America's Health Literacy: Why We Need Accessible Health Information

Level Employer Provided Military Privately Purchased Medicare Medicaid No Insurance
Below Basic 7 12 13 27 30 28
Basic 17 21 24 30 30 25
Intermediate 62 56 54 40 37 41
Proficient 14 11 9 3 3 6