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On September 9, Infopeople presented a well attended webinar to kick off efforts to bring California library staff information about the Affordable Care Act and and assistance in identifying the role of public libraries in the enrollment process scheduled to open on 1 October. If you weren't able to attend the webinar live, be assured that, like all Infopeople webinars, it was archived.

Three speakers addressed the webinar topic of Get Covered @ the Library: Affordable Care Act Resources for Libraries: Oakland Public librarian Barbara Bibel gave an outline of how the health insurance marketplace fits into the 2010 Affordable Care Act rollout; UC Los Angeles librarian Kelli Ham presented the organizing principles and details of the health insurance exchange as well as great resources for staff to access and use; and Covered California's Diane Stanton was on hand to respond to questions specific to the California health insurance exchange.

High on the list of important take-aways from the hour are clear steps libraries need to be taking now:

  • Make an inventory of resources – staff, computers, time for training
  • Decide types and levels of service
  • Maintain neutrality; act as information providers, not insurance experts or advisors
  • Become knowledgeable about appropriate resources and services

And for library administrators as well as supervisors in information/reference, IT and other specific services: "communicate with staff; ongoing communication between management and staff is key" to any library functioning well during this initial enrollment period.

In the next few days, look for Infopeople's announcement of free, online independent learning about the Affordable Care Act and the public library connection. A series of six modules will go deeper into the context and content of the Affordable Care Act, the health insurance exchange for individuals and families, the Small Business Health Insurance Options Program, Medi-Cal changes, educating your community about health care and health insurance, and planning programs and partnerships around enrollment.

There will also be future webinars, posters and bookmarks to help alert your library users to enrollment and where to find authoritative information on the Affordable Care Act, and other resources you may need in order to assist your community during this initial enrollment period.

Stay tuned!