Weber County library may help people understand 'Obamacare'

Tuesday , October 15, 2013 - 1:23 PM

Cathy McKitrick, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — The Weber County Library is gearing up to serve as a guiding hand for individuals struggling to understand the new Affordable Care Act programs.

Known by many as “Obamacare,” the complex federal health care law recently rolled out its website where people can apply for insurance coverage. The first round of enrollment began Oct. 1 and ends March 31.

However, the enrollment process can prove difficult.

“We provide a score of services, from help with taxes to filing divorce papers. We thought that people might come in and want assistance with this,” said Kathryn Pudlock, manager of the Library’s Pleasant Valley branch in Washington Terrace

The Library has aggregated information about the Affordable Care Act online at www.weberpl.lib.ut.us/affordable-care-act.

To qualify as a resource center with certified counselors, the Library had to first apply through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Last week they received word that their application had been accepted,

Earlier this fall, the Library system’s 120 employees, spread out over five branches, sat through an initial training about the Affordable Care Act. Now Pudlock plans to take some to the next level, where they’ll undergo five hours of online training and pass a test to get certified as an ACA counselor. This training should be complete within two weeks.

“Then we can assist the public in the enrollment process,” informing people of the different plans, deductibles and co-payments, Pudlock said. The plan is to have two certified employees per branch, with up to five English and Spanish-speaking counselors at central Ogden’sMain Branch.



According to www.hhs.gov, 359,577 Utahns are uninsured and eligible for coverage under the Act, and many of them could qualify for tax credits. Utah received $2 million in federal grants to assist with information technology and implementation of its health insurance marketplace, the site said.

“A lot of our (ACA) brochures have been flying off the shelves,” Pudlock said. “We did the training because of all the misinformation out there. We just want people to have a good understanding of what it is.”

Contact reporter Cathy McKitrick at 801-625-4214 or cmckitrick@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @catmck.

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