Tuesday was the first day to sign up for insurance using the new online insurance exchange created by the Affordable Care Act. For some that meant heading to the local library.
The library has long been a place to get information. In recent years, especially for those with no computer at home, it’s also become the go-to place for help filling out governmental forms. Cay Hohmeister is the library director in Leon County.
“The library has for the last 8 or 10 years seen an increasing number of people who are coming in and accessing government services over the internet – anything from jobs applications to food stamps and other kinds of services,” Hohmeister said.
Hohmesiter says so far, there’s been no rush of people hoping to get signed up. And she says that’s to be expected since people still have months before fines associated with not having coverage kick in. But she says there have been quite a few questions. And that’s something librarians like Mary Kuipers have been preparing for. Kupiers says she’s signed up for listservs, watched webinars and read as many websites on the issue as possible. She says her job as a librarian is to give people unbiased information no matter what side of the political spectrum they’re on.
“I was terrified that someone would come in and would ask and I wouldn’t know. And this is important. This is insurance. It's money. These things are important. So, I wanted to be the pro,” Kuipers said.
Some of the most common questions Kuipers says she’s received are what the website address is, what the insurance will cost and where to go for help getting signed up.