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Libraries to help Americans learn more about their health care options

Libraries to help Americans learn more about their health care options
For Immediate Release
Monday, July 1, 2013

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced an initiative to get librarians ready to help people in every State learn about the new Health Insurance Marketplace.

This initiative will provide public libraries with information about the health care law and connect librarians with CMS Navigators and certified application counselors to help their patrons understand the options for enrollment in the health insurance through the Marketplace.

“Libraries across this country are a tremendous resource for people in their communities,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “People will likely turn to libraries to learn about the Marketplace, and we want to make sure that library staff has access to the tools and the information to respond to people who want to sign up and enroll for coverage on October 1.”

The initiative will help CMS Navigators, certified application counselors, and others connect at the community level and share information on health insurance coverage options. Public libraries are located in nearly every community in the United States and are recognized as a valuable community resource. Libraries have a long history of helping people access information about health care, offering public meeting spaces, computers, and allowing for quiet conversations—making them a natural location for outreach and education efforts.

“I am pleased that CMS is reaching out to the library community so that librarians are prepared to respond to questions about the Marketplace,” said Susan H. Hildreth, IMLS, director, Institute of Museum and Library Services. “Public libraries are trusted sources for health information. We know that for millions of Americans, the nation’s 17,000 public libraries are the ‘go to’ place for information about health issues.”

The IMLS is primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.

CMS is on target for open enrollment in the Marketplace, which begins Oct. 1, 2013. Coverage will begin Jan. 1, 2014.

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