We talk with Rachelle Brandel, Adult Services Librarian at the Ferguson (MO) Public Library about PLA’s ‘Libraries Connecting You to Coverage’ initiative and the Ferguson Library’s efforts to help their community members enroll in health insurance during the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period.
Posts Tagged ‘affordable care act’
Just as public libraries are about more than books, health is about more than healthcare. Partnerships between public libraries and community health stakeholders address disparities in access to health information and services by providing inclusive entry points to reliable and relevant health resources and support. Access to and meaningful use of information is core to effective individual health management. Experts recognize that health literacy is essential for individuals, organizations, and communities to develop. Yet in the United States, adult health literacy levels vary from below basic (14 percent), to basic (22 percent), intermediate (53 percent) and proficient (12 percent). Title V of the Affordable Care Act defines health literacy as “the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand health information and services in order to make appropriate health decisions.”
A recent IMLS study showed that an estimated 28 million people use library computers and seek assistance from librarians for health and wellness issues, including learning about medical conditions, finding health care providers, and assessing health insurance options. The library’s role in health information dissemination became perhaps most well-known with the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace launch in 2013. Because of this massive change in federal healthcare, Webjunction partnered with ZeroDivide to create the program Health Happens in Libraries.