Understanding your Health and Healthcare

Please join us on October 3 for an open Q&A session about preventative health, healthcare and health insurance for students. Bring your questions and receive answers from our health literacy experts. The open forum will be held at the Center of Health and Well-being in Room 217 from 5-6:30 p.m. Registration for this event is encouraged.

Why is it important?

No matter what stage in life you are in, whether that be as a student or faculty/staff member, having a good understanding of your health, the recent changes to healthcare and knowing the type of healthcare coverage that is best for you is the only way to stay health literate.

What is Health Literacy?

Health literacy means having the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions (Centers for Disease Control, CDC).1 Good health literacy is important not only for those currently seeking healthcare, but as well as those taking preventative measures in order to maintain their health. The more you learn about and understand your health, the more you are able to accomplish in this world resulting in a higher quality of life.

Knowing the Facts:

The average annual healthcare costs of those with low health literacy levels are 4 times greater than that of the general population. 2

Health literacy is a better predictor of one’s health status than: age, income, employment, ethnicity, or education level. 3,4,5

95.5% of UofSC Students believe that personal health impacts their ability to be successful in college.6

99.5% of UofSC faculty and staff believe that their health and wellness is important.7

Preventive Health

You are responsible for your own health and the care that you receive for it. That includes taking preventative action for your health before disease is even present. Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death in America, yet in most cases can easily be prevented by including measures such as eating healthy, becoming more physically active, and instilling an overall healthy lifestyle.8

Knowing the Facts:

The average American should aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes a week, of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread out throughout the week. 9

An early first step to eating healthier is to limit your intake of fats, salts, and alcohol. Only 10%  of your calories should be consumed from saturated fats each day.10

Only 5.4% of UofSC students are meeting the recommendation of 5 or more fruits and vegetables per day.6

Despite the large impact that preventative measures can have on one’s health, sadly not all forms of disease can be prevented. If you catch a virus or get injured unexpectedly, you need to seek out medical assistance for treatment. However, medical costs in the United States can be expensive and can only be supplemented through health insurance. To learn about the U.S. healthcare systems and find the healthcare plan that is best for you start by following these simple steps below, or click on the section that is most applicable to you.

You Decide Your Own Healthcare: Here's how

  • What is Healthcare?

    Healthcare, especially here in the U.S., is not an easy concept to understand. That is why it is important to learn about the healthcare system, especially at its most basic level, so that you can navigate the system effectively. Ensuring that you receive the best care for the best price.

    • Want to learn more about the essentials to U.S. healthcare? This short video describes basic terms and details about the U.S. healthcare system, including what is a deductible, a copay and coinsurance. It also shows that even healthcare has its limits by describing the in-network/out-of-network process.




  • Know about the recent changes to Health Care System- The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

    In 2010 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act established new healthcare policies and reforms within our country’s healthcare system, including healthcare coverage for all Americans. This act enforced new measures that made healthcare more accessible to all individuals, and included policies such as ensuring dependent children or individuals can stay on their parent’s healthcare plan until the age of 26, women cannot be charged more than men for the same type of healthcare coverage and preventative services such as immunizations and screenings cannot be charged with additional copays. This short film discusses some the changes that have been made in recent years to the U.S. healthcare system, as well as how those changes benefit you.


  • Choose the one that is best for you.

    One of the hardest aspects about the healthcare system is finding the coverage that is best for you. In order to find the right answer, you have to ask the right questions. This video will show you what healthcare matters you need to think about when finding the right healthcare plan.



    Remember though, this plan will change as you move through different stages of life. And always be aware of your benefits to your healthcare plan. Found below are links to the faculty and student insurance plans. To see details of your healthcare plan and the benefits you have as a student/faculty member of the university, click on the links below.

    • South Carolina PEBA State Plan (State Employees) http://www.peba.sc.gov/insurance.html
    • Student Health Insurance Plan

      Go to: www.studentinsurance.com
      On right side of page, choose the state and college.


      Choose option on left navigation bar to enroll, learn more about benefits, find a specialist, or explore drug plan coverage.

      Now that you have health insurance, don’t forget to carry your healthcare card wherever you go. You never know when you may need it.

  • Budget for Healthcare.

    One thing that you can never plan on is your health. That is why it is important to budget health expenses on a monthly basis. How much do you budget for healthcare each month? Watch this short clip to find out.





    Here are some informational resources to help you become an informed decision maker when it comes to your health, your healthcare and navigating the healthcare system.

    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – What You Need to Know

      About the Affordable Care Act

      American College Health Association FAQ

    Wellness and Preventive Care Guidelines

      Personalized Health Recommendations

      Centers for Disease Control Preventive Care for College Students

      Prevention Care Guidelines

      Preventive Services Covered Under the Affordable Care Act

    Common Used Medical and Insurance Terms

      Healthcare Glossary

      Health Reform Glossary

      Health Insurance Basics

      Patient Advocacy

    Navigating the Healthcare System/Using insurance:

      Student Health Fee

      CHP Student Health Insurance

      Young Invincibles

      College Students and the Health Marketplace

    Questions to Ask Your Doctor

      Ask Me 3

      AHRQ Ask Your Doctor

    Budgeting for Healthcare

      Health Costs and Budgeting

      Budgeting for HealthCare

    Evidenced Based Sources of Health Information


      Health and Human Services

      Centers for Disease Control


      National Institutes of Health

      For information on how to evaluate health information on the internet visit the FDA.

    Phone Apps for Health

      Top Apps for Health Wellness: These apps are created for developing exercise routines, tracking your nutrition and other healthy lifestyle tips, strategies and monitoring.  

      Greatist Apps

      Health and Human Services Health Apps



    • Friedland, R.B, & Summer, L. (1999). Demography Is Not Destiny. Washington, DC: National Academy on an Aging Society.
    • Friedland, R.B. (1998). Life expectancy in the future: A summary of a discussion among experts. North American Actuarial Journal, 2(4), 1-14.
    • Weiss, B.D. (1999). 20 Common Problems in Primary Care. New York: McGraw Hill, 468-481.
    • American Medical Association. (2004). Health Literacy. AMA-MSS Community Service Committee. Retrieved 10/25/11, from http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/about-ama/our-people/member-groups-sections/medical-student-section/community-service/health-literacy.page
    • Weiss, B.D. (2003). Health Literacy: A Manual for Clinicians. American Medical Association/American Medical Association Foundation, 7.