Are state medicaid application enrollment forms readable?

Jocelyn M. Wilson, Lorraine S. Wallace, Jennifer E. DeVoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We sought to assess readability and layout characteristics of state-issued Medicaid enrollment applications. We attempted to locate Internet-based Medicaid enrollment applications from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Readability of each Medicaid enrollment application "Signature" page was calculated using McLaughlin's Simplified Measure of Gobbledygoop formula, while layout characteristics were assessed utilizing criteria included in the User-Friendliness Tool. Readability of Medicaid enrollment application Signature pages ranged from 11th to 18th grade level (M±SD= 15.5±1.5). Most (66%) applications did not use a recommended font size (≥12 point). None of the applications required little work to make them comply with good formatting standards according to the User-Friendliness Tool. Medicaid enrollment applications overall exhibit text font sizes below 12 point, crowded formatting, and excessively high reading demands. State health departments should revise their Medicaid enrollment applications to adhere to established low-literacy guidelines to improve understanding and comprehension by potential enrollees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-431
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Health literacy
  • Literacy
  • Medicaid
  • Readability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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