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California library staff can learn a lot of helpful information about both the Affordable Care Act and library staff roles in guiding our communities through various legislated processes ACA entails through the free webinars that are being presented this month and next by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Each webinar is scheduled to be shared live on multiple dates and there are three webinar topics in the full series. In addition, staff can view the slides for any of the three online at any time.

Watching the first real time presentation of Health Insurance Marketplace 101 yesterday, I learned some important things, both from the formal discussion and in the question and answer session. Among these is a fact that may be of great importance in some of our library communities and is relatively undiscussed in general media:  a record of incarceration does not preclude anyone from participating in the health insurance marketplace; in fact, no incarceration history database will be checked during the application verification process. On the other hand, the enrollment process for consumers will check input data against such databases as the IRS and Social Security Administration. Such questions asked by audience members during the session will, we were told, be added to the growing list of FAQ's maintained on the CMS training page.

The public is being directed to libraries, among other agencies such as hospitals and insurance agents, to receive assistance in navigating the marketplace and its website.  This is not new information, but realizing that this word is being widely spread can give pause to library staff members who are uncertain about their current abilities to help anyone else navigate a new system they themselves don’t fully understand.

And that is exactly why library staff need to hear now that a wide array of training options and supports are already available to them and that we at Infopeople have even more in production—training aimed specifically at California library staff to whom the public will be (and perhaps already is) turning for a better understanding of how the Affordable Care Act, and registration in its legislated health insurance marketplace, affects them.  Help Infopeople get out the word that support is on hand so that library staff statewide can ready themselves for this new legislative initiative.

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