Objectives: This study analyzed whether inadequate functional health literacy is an independent risk factor for hospital admission.
Methods: We studied a prospective cohort of 3260 Medicare managed care enrollees.
Results: Of the participants, 29.5% were hospitalized. The crude relative risk (RR) of hospitalization was higher for individuals with inadequate literacy (n = 800; RR = 1.43; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.24, 1.65) and marginal literacy (n = 366; RR = 1.33; 95% CI = 1.09, 1.61) than for those with adequate literacy (n = 2094). In multivariate analysis, the adjusted relative risk of hospital admission was 1.29 (95% CI = 1.07, 1.55) for individuals with inadequate literacy and 1.21 (95% CI = 0.97, 1.50) for those with marginal literacy.
Conclusions: Inadequate literacy was an independent risk factor for hospital admission among elderly managed care enrollees.