UPDATE July 1, 2013 More on Libraries as a Resource to Learn About New Health Insurance Law/Health Insurance Marketplace
The Marketplace website, HealthCare.gov will be the primary tool for delivering information to Americans about their health coverage options. As prominent providers of Internet access and digital literacy training for people who lack Internet connections at home, libraries can anticipate intensified demand for computer services. IMLS and CMS [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] will work cooperatively to make sure that libraries are aware of and able to connect patrons with information resources and community partners who are trained enrollment assistors.
IMLS has also awarded $286,104 to OCLC to support the effort through its flagship public library program WebJunction.org. The goal is to assure that librarians have the information and connections with local experts needed to connect their patrons to information about the Health Insurance Marketplace when open enrollment begins October 1, 2013. OCLC will work closely with ZeroDivide, a social impact organization that helps underserved communities realize the transformative power of technology to improve health outcomes, to implement the program.
“Libraries are a lifeline for Americans who wouldn’t otherwise have access to information and communication technologies,” said Cathy De Rosa, OCLC Vice President for the Americas and Global Marketing, “and now online access to health information is critical to leading a healthy, productive life. OCLC is proud to continue to support public libraries in ensuring that their communities stay connected to the information they need to thrive.”
The nation’s librarians will be recruited to help people get signed up for insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Up to 17,000 U.S. libraries will be part of the effort to get information and crucial computer time to the millions of uninsured Americans who need to get coverage under the law.
The undertaking will be announced Sunday in Chicago at the annual conference of the American Library Association, according to federal officials who released the information early to The Associated Press.
Libraries equipped with public computers and Internet access already serve as a bridge across the digital divide, so it made sense to get them involved, said Julie Bataille, spokeswoman for the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“Libraries are a tremendous resource for people in their communities,” Bataille said. “They’re already a destination many individuals go to when they’re seeking out information and understanding on a variety of issues.”
Read the Complete Article
Hopefully, libraries will not only be able to assist helping people get signed up but they’ll also be able to leverage this opportunity to inform/show/demo the many other services they provide (many available 24x7x365) and the skills that librarians can offer (i.e. digital literacy) at all other times.