Affordable Care Act (ACA) Resources
What is the Affordable Care Act?
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), frequently referred to as Obamacare, was passed by Congress and signed into law on March 23, 2010.On October 1, 2013, open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace began for coverage starting as early as January 2014. The inital open enrollment period closes March 31, 2014.
A brief outline of each Title (or section), as well as the full text of the ACA can be found at The Affordable Care Act, Section by Section from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
What is the role of libraries in the Affordable Care Act?
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has partnered with several government agencies regarding the role of the NLM, and each of the eight Regional Medical Libraries (RMLs) has been working with their state libraries to provide information.
More information about the ACA and the Role of Libraries is available from the American Library Association (ALA). Information and resources related to how public libraries are responding to health information needs, and, in particular, needs related to the ACA may be found on the Health Happens in Libraries page of the OCLC WebJunction website.
Libraries and information providers are encouraged to link users to information provided by HealthCare.gov. HealthCare.gov has created several widgets and badges in English and Spanish to quickly link website visitors to additional information. Code for the widgets and badges is provided and can quickly be added to already existing websites.
The website has undergone a number of updates, upgrades and software improvements to improve the performance of the site. The deadline for coverage beginning January 1, 2014 has been extended to December 23, 2013.
Allows individuals or organizations to 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.
HealthCare.gov and the Spanish version CuidadoDeSalud.gov are the primary websites for information about the ACA. A toll free call center is available 24/7(1-800-318-2596 or 1-855-889-4325 TTY/TDD). Operators can provide educational information and enrollment assistance in more than 150 different languages.
The Get Insurance tab of the Healthcare.gov site provides customized information on the Health Insurance Marketplace for individuals and families as well as small business owners. The site enables visitors to complete an application and see various plan options.
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
CMS has been designated as the HHS division responsible for the rollout of the ACA.
The site contains Publications and articles on the Health Insurance Marketplace including application forms for individuals and families. Additional information about the role of Navigators and organizations which may serve as Champions for Coverage is available. The NN/LM SCR is now identified as a Champion for Coverage.
Hard copies of materials to distribute throughout enrollment are available at no cost from CMS in limited quantities using an online ordering system . 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.
- MedlinePlus.gov from the National Library of Medicine
MedlinePlus has a Health Topics page devoted to all matters relevant to Health Insurance, including many items related to the ACA.
- US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Healthcare.gov is a website created and maintained by HHS, but additional resources can also be found on the Affordable Care Act section of the website.
- Navigator Grants Recipients
On August 15, 2013, grant awards were announced to 105 Navigator grant applicants in Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces. These Navigator grantees and their staff will serve as an in-person resource for Americans who want additional assistance in shopping for and enrolling in plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace beginning this fall. Information on Navigators in the SCR can be found in the table below.
- Navigator Grants Recipients
- OCLC WebJunction
WebJunction and their partners at ZeroDivide are working to provide information to the library community regarding opportunities and resources to connect patrons to health and wellness information. Additional information about ongoing efforts by WebJunction can be found via the eHealth page. Recordings of webinars related to ACA topics can also be found in the WebJunction Event Archive.
To stay informed on updates visit the Get Involved section of the eHealth webpage and sign up for updates.
- Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
The Topic Page on Health Reform has a lot of information regarding the ACA and health reform in general. Facts and figures related to the ACA as well as perspective from a variety of individuals are included on the site.
- Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (IOM)
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has released several discussion papers related to the ACA including the following:
- American Public Health Association (APHA)
The Health Reform Resources page on the APHA website has several resources related to the ACA and public health initiatives.
- Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA), US Department of Health and Human Services
HRSA awarded $150 million in grant awards to 1,159 health centers across the nation to enable them to hire new staff, train existing staff, and conduct community outreach events and other educational activities. A list of health centers and awards by state can be found through the Outreach and Enrollment Assistance page.
- Refugee Health Technical Assistance Center (RHTAC)
RHTAC provides information on the benefits and protections in the ACA as they apply specifically to individuals residing in the U.S. who meet the definition of refugees. A summary for refugees of the information outlines provisions for this group.
South Central Region (SCR) State-specific Information
Libraries may receive questions relating to state-specific provisions of the ACA. The table below summarizes some of that information.
|Navigator Grant Recipients||Libraries Identified as Champions for Coverage|
Southern United Neighborhoods;
|Van Buren Public Library, Van Buren, AR|
|Louisiana (LA)||No||Southern United Neighborhoods||New Orleans Public Library, New Orleans, LA|
|New Mexico (NM)||Yes||
|Oklahoma (OK)||No||Cardon Healthcare Network, LLC DBA Cardon Outreach;
OK Community Health Centers, Inc.;
Little Dixie Community Action Agency, Inc.
Duncan Public Library;
United Way of Metropolitan Tarrant County;
Victoria College and the University of Houston-Victoria, Victoria, TX
Resources from the South Central Region
SCR staff have been providing information sessions on the role of libraries in the Affordable Care Act. Materials used during these presentations are listed below.
The Role of Libraries in the Affordable Care Act
September 10, 2013 Webinar Presentation for Oklahoma Department of Libraries
For questions contact Cheryl Rowan, NN/LM SCR Consumer Health Coordinator
713-799-7880 (or 800-338-7657 in AR, LA, NM, OK, TX)