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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about health literacy, analysis of proposed SNAP changes, government IT, billing Medicaid for healthcare in schools, and how socioeconomic status impacts health.

1. Healthcare consumers lack knowledge of basic health insurance terms 

Despite being one of the biggest expenses for consumers, a recent survey found that many individuals don’t understand health insurance. For example, more than 50% of respondents didn’t know the definition of a co-payment or deductible. Another 13% were unaware of whether they even had health insurance. This Forbes blog points out, a lack of health literacy knowledge can lead to avoidance of care, unexpected costs, and an inability to effectively comparison shop. 

2. Estimated effect of recent proposed changes to SNAP regulations 

The Urban Institute has estimated the impact of proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The analysis found, if the changes were implemented last year, 3.7 million fewer individuals would have received SNAP benefits in an average month and the cost of annual benefits would have been reduced by $4.2 billion. Overall, more than 2 million households would no longer be eligible for SNAP and more than 3 million would have reduced benefits. However, 2.5 million households would receive slightly larger benefits.

3. How your agency can get started with robotic process automation 

Robotic process automation (RPA) is underway at several federal agencies, and adoption is being encouraged by the Office of Management and Budget. In this Fed Tech blog, the author outlines steps for agencies interested in launching a RPA project, including making a business case, getting buy-in, and showcasing quick wins that demonstrate a return on investment.  

4. More kids on Medicaid to get healthcare in school

Fourteen states have received permission from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), are waiting for approval, or are in the process of applying to bill Medicaid for services provided in schools. The Pew Charitable Trusts reports the policy change allowing schools to bill Medicaid went into effect five years ago, but states are only now beginning to do so. Funding will allow schools to increase mental health services and better help students manage chronic diseases.

5. How does socioeconomic status impact racial health disparities?

Data shows that socioeconomic status is not solely responsible for health disparities. According to Patient Engagement HIT, while white (non-Hispanic) youth reported better health outcomes as their parents who attained higher levels of education, the same was not true for Hispanic or black youth.