Deborah Weltsch, Coordinator of Central Library Services at the Adriance Memorial Library in Poughkeepsie has provided a great preview of the national movement to support libraries in responding to reference questions about the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) and the Health Insurance Marketplace:
October 1, 2013 marks the beginning of the enrollment period for health insurance plans for individuals and families under the new Affordable Care Act (ACA). The federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) will be working together to help connect citizens to information about health coverage options, and to trained 'navigators' who will assist them with enrollment. They are developing online resources for public libraries so that we can help guide the public to needed information.
OCLC WebJunction is hosting a free webinar this Friday that has already sold out: "Libraries & Health Insurance: Preparing for October 1." This webinar will be archived and available on-demand, along with answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) which will be updated as information becomes available.
"We know that people rely on libraries to meet information needs, but ... like any service or resource a library offers, the decision needs to be made locally on how to respond to the types of questions and requests that will arise. It may be that a library only has the capacity to direct patrons to the healthcare.gov website or refer the patron to a local health services organization. Other libraries will partner with local organizations that are working on the ACA to offer information sessions for the public, using meeting room space in the library. And some may provide private meeting space and public access computers to help 'Navigators' and Assisters work with patrons on understanding their options and completing forms. Each library will need to decide how to approach these needs in the community."
-"Libraries and the Health Insurance Marketplace,"
OCLC WebJunction, http://bit.ly/1a3zytn
- WebJunction has created a sign-up opportunity for anyone interested in receiving updates: http://bit.ly/14e6Hmt
- CMS encourages libraries to post the "info widget" to their websites, which will lead users directly to official info. Links to the widgets in English and Spanish:
- HealthCare.gov is the primary tool for delivering information to Americans to go for general information about their healthcare options. Library staff should be familiar with this key resource! A brief, confidential screening questionnaire helps direct people to existing federal programs if they qualify based on disability, age and/or income (i.e.- Medicare/ Medicaid).
- For those New York State residents who are not covered by existing federal health care programs, there is a specific site for New Yorkers to go to: The New York Heath Benefit Exchange. Most New Yorkers will use this website to identify the Health Insurance Plans available, compare the plans, and apply for coverage. Enrollment will begin October 1, 2013 - though libraries are already fielding questions!
For more information or other reference and collection development assistance, call the Reference & Information Desk at Adriance Memorial Library at 845.485.3445 or 800.804.0092 x3702.