Affordable Care Act Updates
The final countdown to Open Enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace has begun! The list of organizations already in place to provide assistance to individuals with the enrollment process continues to grow, and includes Navigators, Certified Application Counselors, Assisters, and Champions for Coverage.
On September 26, OCLC WebJunction announced some updates aimed to help library staff connect patrons to available resources and community experts that can provide assistance.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has soft launched LocalHelp.healthcare.gov, where individuals or organizations can enter their geographic location to identify local ACA consumer assistance destinations in their area. This resource is also available in Spanish at ayudalocal.cuidadodesalud.gov.
If your state is participating in the Federally-facilitated Marketplace [AR, LA, OK, and TX in the SCR], CMS has an online ordering system for print materials. Libraries are welcome to request these print materials from CMS, however, it is important to note that quantities are limited and stock is constantly changing. You will need to create an account to be able to view and order materials. Once you have an account, search on the keyword “marketplace” to see the available publications.
In the near future, CMS expects to add an option to order and/or download print versions of the Federal Application form (not available until open enrollment begins on October 1). While print forms will be an option, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply online because they will see real-time eligibility and available health insurance options.
Organizations and businesses (including libraries) who reach consumers who may need coverage can become Champions for Coverage to provide information and education to help people learn more about the Marketplace and how they can enroll. For more information, see: Become a Champion for Coverage. A list of organizations – current as of August 28, 2013 – is available.
In addition, several libraries and organizations in the South Central Region have already been identified. A partial list is provided below:
VC/UHV Library – Victoria College and the University of Houston-Victoria (Joint Library Services)
Victoria, TX 77901
Phone: 361-570-4166 or toll-free 800-687-5006
New Orleans Public Library
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: (504) 596-2570
Bell Whittington Public Library
Portland, TX 78374
Phone: (361) 771-0921
Hood County Library (Texas)
Granbury, TX 76048
Phone: (817) 573-3569
Van Buren Public Library
Van Buren, AR 72596
Phone: (479) 474-6045
Van Alstyne Public Library
Van Alstyne, TX 75495
Phone: (903) 482-5991