Tens of thousands of currently uninsured people in the Midlands will be required to have health insurance in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act.
They can sign up online via the Health Insurance Marketplace starting Oct. 1, but they need Internet access, an email address and understanding of how to navigate online registration forms.
Because many people without Internet access at home use the computers at the libraries, the Richland Library staff has been planning to help them. A Knight Foundation grant allowed the library system to hire a coordinator to help train staff members and reach out to people in the community in need of help with the process.
The library also scheduled three public forums, where experts will discuss the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The first was Thursday, and additional forums are set for Oct. 22 at Richland Library Northeast and Nov. 14 at Richland Library Southeast.
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“It makes sense for Richland Library to be a part of the solution on this issue,” said library spokeswoman Padgett Mozingo. “Richland County residents already rely on us for access to computers and the Internet. We want to make sure that the many people who use the library – 4.7 million visits a year –have access to the health care information they need.”