"When you're sick, reach out and make sure you have a good, strong network behind you."
Engineer turned author and health care reform speaker Randi Oster joined local residents at the Norwalk Public Library to offer advice on personal healthcare and an explanation on the Health Care Reform Act.
"My mission is to help empower patients to improve their outcomes. In order to do that they have to understand the rules and they have to understand the regulation, with health care reform that's coming, that's changing the game for them," said Oster.
Oster's book "Questioning Protocol", which will be released this fall, navigates the health care system while diving into her journey in identifying problems and necessary improvements within hospitals. When Oster's son was diagnosed with Chron's disease at 15 years old, she noticed certain flaws in the system, and soon became her son's primary health care advocate.
"It's not the people who are bad, it's the process," said Oster. "You can take the best people who want to do all the right things and if the process and the system doesn't support them, it fails."
Oster laid out the options for the Affordable Health Care Act's Health Insurance Marketplace, a new way for individuals, families, and small businesses to get health coverage. The widespread law will effect many people and businesses, giving people more control over their health insurance options and making it illegal for health insurance companies to arbitrarily cancel health insurance just because you get sick. Enrollment begins October 1.
"I think people need to know what is happening and I think they need to know how to make choices where they can start," said programming specialist Cynde Lahey. "And where they can find more information and she gave out some excellent websites and some excellent information to the library as well and ask for help here."
"They know October 1 it's coming, they know what the subsidies are, they know about preexisting conditions and they also learned a couple other tricks so that if someone got sick tomorrow, (the reforms are trying to change a system, but that doesn't mean they're ready today) they also are prepared today"
For more information on the library's programs visit Norwalklib.org.