Saturday, June 29, 2013

Public libraries to the rescue! Helping sign folks up for health insurance

You may have seen a short piece about the Obama administration turning to public  libraries to help educate the public and sign people up for the health insurance options available to them under the federal insurance law.  Here is a bit longer AP piece that probably underlies the short TV and newspaper bits. According to the article, up to 17,000 libraries nationwide may be recruited in the effort. Tomorrow, Sunday, there will be an official announcement at the ALA conference in Chicago.

The article notes that there are already informal efforts underway at many libraries, of course.  Librarians are already linking people to the information they need, using the computers available.  But the article estimates that the federal program will enroll about 7 million new people for insurance coverage next year.  People without access to the Internet, and without the skills to search will be unable to reach the Web portals that are key for this sign-up effort.  Public libraries will be important to bridge the gap for those people.

The ever-fabulous Super Librarian image is courtesy of New Jersey State Library and New Jersey Library Network.  Whatta cool image! 

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