Tag Archives: Affordable Care Act

Librarians in the Cross Fire: the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act

Librarians answer reference questions. We point direction and let people gather what they choose. We do not give medical or legal advice, but we do show people how to find information, so they can make their own medical and legal decisions. It is not the job of librarians to decide what a patron should or should not research, or read.

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The controversies surrounding the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA) make some librarians feel like targets. Even the folks at AARP get very negative feedback whenever they post information about health care reform on their website. The PPACA passed with a slim Democratic margin, which touched off heated debate about the pros & cons.

This is the current factual situation:

  • The PPACA was passed by both houses of the legislature
  • President Obama signed the PPACA on March 23, 2010
  • The U.S. Supreme Court upheld it
  • The Marketplace open enrollment begins October 1, 2013

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It is important to point out that librarians are not advocating a political agenda by showing citizens how to visit the HealthCare.gov Marketplace to compare and select health insurance. Helping people access wanted or needed information is what librarians do.

“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.”    Robert Frost

Where Do You Find Information about Health Care Reform?

President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010. The law puts in place comprehensive health insurance reforms that will roll out over the next few years. Benefits include: young adults can stay on their parents plan until age 26; consumers cannot be denied health insurance because of pre-existing conditions; there are Rx discounts for seniors; increased protection against health care fraud; and small businesses can receive tax credits.

Here are the 3 key dates:

  • October 1, 2013 – Marketplace open enrollment starts
  • January 1, 2014 – Coverage starts for insurance plans
  • March 31, 2014 – Open enrollment ends

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If you have job-based health insurance, you’re considered covered, so you don’t have to do anything. If you are uninsured, the first step is to go to HealthCare.gov  to access the Health Insurance Marketplace. Here you can compare plans from private insurance companies, apply for coverage, and enroll. While the insurance plans are offered by private companies, the Marketplace is run by the state or federal government. North Dakota’s Marketplace will be facilitated by the federal government at HealthCare.gov.

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No plan can refuse you or charge you more because you have a pre-existing medical condition. Women cannot be charged more than men. Answer a few quick questions to get a personalized list of programs that fit your needs and budget. The Marketplace has content, checklists, and information for individuals, families, and small business. You can also view a short video about the Marketplace for individuals and families. Printable brochures, fact sheets, and other information resources about affordable health insurance can  be found at the Marketplace publications center.

Information about prices and benefits are written in plain language so you can make better decisions. The goal of the Marketplace is to simplify your search for health coverage. So, start your health care reform research at HealthCare.gov or ask your local librarian.

“The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.”  — H. L. Mencken