Thank you for your interest in resources to support libraries in responding to patron requests about the Affordable Care Act! Many libraries are considering how best to address local needs regarding the ACA. This update aims to help library staff connect patrons to available resources and community experts that can provide assistance. Please feel free to share this update with any community partners that might be interested.
- 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. Local consumer assisters (including Navigators, Certified Application counselors, etc.) can provide personal help in applying for healthcare coverage through the ACA. This resource is also available in Spanish at ayudalocal.cuidadodesalud.gov. CMS has also made English and Spanish widgets available for those that may be interested in hosting this resource as a widget on their website.
- Please be advised that, according to CMS, many consumer assistance organizations are still completing the training and certification process. The database will be regularly updated to add new locations as they become available, so check back frequently. Please also note that states operating independent health insurance marketplaces may have more details about customer support networks at their state’s individual marketplace site. Unsure what type of marketplace is operating in your state? Visit the Get State Information page on HealthCare.gov to determine your state’s approach and access the most relevant source for local marketplace information.
Printed Publications and Forms
- If your state is participating in the Federally-facilitated Marketplace, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (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.
As always, thanks for your interest in this important topic! Please don’t hesitate to share any questions or feedback via our comments form.