Health Happens in Libraries

Affordable Care Act 101: Verify Your Library's Service Level Policies

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a government policy. At a very basic level, libraries can think about providing information and resources regarding the ACA in the same way they might provide patron support regarding tax information or unemployment assistance. Given the online application and enrollment options for the ACA marketplace, libraries can also apply their Internet and computer privacy policies to patrons using library resources for ACA inquires. Included below are basic considerations for prioritizing services and patron privacy guidelines for responding to ACA information requests.

Clarify service and privacy priorities

Many libraries treat their service policies like living documents, revisiting and refining them on a regular basis. The onset of any new major information need is a great time to reflect on these policies.

  • If you’re a library staff member, ask to review your library’s service policy. Share any questions or concerns about alignment with ACA marketplace activities with your library leadership.

  • If you’re a library leader, check to see if your state library agency has issued any guidelines or recommendations related to the ACA marketplace. Review these guidelines with your team, and determine what adjustments, if any, are most appropriate to your service policy.

  • Library leadership and staff alike can encourage patrons to protect their own privacy. Health insurance decisions are very personal decisions. Library staff can help patrons understand their rights when seeking application or enrollment assistance through the health insurance marketplace, using personal fraud protection guidelines available at HealthCare.gov.

The American Library Association E-Government Toolkit provides comprehensive guidance on maintaining service and privacy policies.

  • Specifically, the Service Level Policies section offers guidance for establishing or updating policies related to e-government reference services, computer access policies and security issues.

  • In addition, the Library E-Government Services section includes a General E-Government Services checklist, and a section on E-Government Services Through Public Libraries.