The initial open enrollment period for health care insurance under the Affordable Care Act begins on October 1, 2013 and ends on March 31, 2014. While librarians are not being asked to promote the Affordable Care Act, nor to make decisions on behalf of their customers, they will likely receive requests for information to aid in personal decision-making.
The purpose of this guide is to provide a list of resources that librarians can access to find information that they can provide to their patrons. There are also links to resources for patrons who might want more information on health insurance related issues.
Promoting the Health Insurance Marketplace
Libraries and information providers are encouraged to link users to information provided by HealthCare.gov. In anticipation of the upcoming open enrollment period, HealthCare.gov has created several widgets and badges in English and Spanish to quickly link website visitors to additional information. Codes for the widgets and badges is provided and can quickly be added to already existing websites.
In addition to the widgets and badges, HealthCare.gov has also created several brochures, fact sheets and application forms and encourages libraries and information providers to make them available to their users.
Accessing the Health Insurance Marketplace
Patrons can access the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov or the Spanish version CuidadoDeSalud.gov. Clicking on the Get Insurance tab of the Healthcare.gov site will provide customized information on the Health Insurance Marketplace for individuals and families as well as small business owners. Starting October 1, 2013, the site will enable partrons to complete an application and see various plan options. Prior to that date, information will be provided to help patrons get ready for the process. Information is customized based on the state in which patrons live.