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. The current enrollment period began November 1, 2015 for coverage beginning as early as January 1, 2016. Individuals who enrolled and have had a plan in 2015 can already begin to make changes or keep their current plan for 2016 by going to

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).

Next Open Enrollment Period has created the 5 Steps to Staying Covered:

  1. Review
  2. Update
  3. Compare
  4. Choose
  5. Enroll

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 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.

American Library Association Publishing has recently released a guide written specifically for library staff, Libraries and the Affordable Care Act: Helping the Community Understand Health-Care Options. This brief guide (89 pages) is meant to offer best practices, advice and examples of library responses from the first open enrollment period, with particular emphasis on public libraries.

Recent Updates new.gif

  •, and the Spanish version of the site, continue to be the “go to” websites for information about the ACA. A toll free call center continues to be available 24/7(1-800-318-2596 or 1-855-889-4325 TTY/TDD) except on major holidays.

    The site allows individuals to preview their options and eligibility.
    Once Open Enrollment begins, the application for new consumers will be simpler, faster, and more intuitive.

    • It’s simpler. The consumer now enters information only once. The system now saves data as the consumer moves through the application.
    • It’s faster. Depending on the specific situation, the new application could reduce the number of screens by more than 75%, with fewer clicks to navigate through the questions.
    • It’s intuitive for users. The new application is more user-friendly with simpler navigation and built-in help along the way.

    In addition to the Spanish version of the site,, resources in more than 10 other languages can be found here:

  • From Coverage to Care

    From Coverage to Care is a new initiative designed to help people with new health care coverage understand their benefits and connect to primary care and the preventive services that are right for them, so they can live a long and healthy life. From Coverage to Care has written resources and videos which can be printed or ordered to assist patrons.

Key Resources

  • and the Spanish version 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 Coverage tab of the 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. 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.

  • 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. Training materials for navigators, agents, brokers, and other assisters can also be found on this site. 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.

  • 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.

Other Organizations