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National Network of Libraries of Medicine

Libraries and the Affordable Care Act   Tags: aca, affordable care act, exchange, health insurance, insurance, marketplace  

Last Updated: Jan 19, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Affordable Care Act and Public Libraries

Time is running out!

January 31st is the last day for 2016 Open Enrollment!

 January calendar with 1, 15, and 31 dates circled, emphasizing the 31st deadline

We are nearing the final deadline! Here is a list of all important deadlines and information for the 2016 open enrollment period:

  • November 1, 2015: Open Enrollment started — first day you can enroll in a 2016 insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2016.
  • December 15, 2015 (extended to Dec 17): Last day to enroll in or change plans for new coverage to start January 1, 2016
  • January 1, 2016: 2016 coverage starts for those who enroll or change plans by December 15.
  • January 15, 2016: Last day to enroll in or change plans for new coverage to start February 1, 2016
  • January 31, 2016: 2016 Open Enrollment ends. Enrollments or changes between January 16 and January 31 take effect March 1, 2016.

About This Guide:

This guide provides information and resources for libraries and the people they serve about the Affordable Care Act, starting with the basics and then digging deeper on a state-by-state basis. The law is complex, and the resources here are intended to help libraries in their efforts to provide reference services and outreach to consumers as they learn about their health coverage options, make decisions, and learn how to utilize insurance. This page includes general information about the law and how libraries can provide the best services to their communities. For states in the Pacific Southwest (California, Arizona, Hawaii, and Nevada), please see state-specific information at the tabs above.  

New Links and Breaking News!

January 2016 UPDATE: Don't Delay! The final deadline is January 31, 2016!

  • Archived Webinar Materials: ACA Messaging for Native American Outreach (Updated 1/8/16)
    Visit this page to access the PowerPoint slides for the webinar titled Affordable Care Act Messaging for American Indians and Alaska Natives. The material provides tribes, tribal organizations, and RHEC members with effective messaging strategies and outreach practices for AI/ANs that encourage enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
  • Latest Research on the ACA (Updated 1/8/16)
    From the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, this page offers a collection of current reports, including statistics on the first two months of the current enrollment period (through December 2015) and other reports about health insurance plans, consumer choice, eligibility, and coverage statistics.
  • Navigators and Assisters Provide Vital Services (Added 11/4/15)
    This article from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation discusses the key role that navigators and assisters play in helping consumers get coverage.
  • Libraries and the Health Insurance Marketplace (Updated 11/4/15)
    This guide supports library professionals in creating a continuing, locally-relevant approach to ACA information requests and is intended for use by libraries in all states, regardless of the marketplace operating in their state. The resources and recommendations are also relevant for developing broader health information services. Sections include Affordable Care Act 101, Community Assessment, Partner Engagement, and Telling Your Library's Story. The Community Assessment section links to the Consumer Health Toolkit developed by NN/LM PSR staff.
  • Health Literacy and Health Insurance Literacy: Do Consumers Know What They Are Buying? (Added 3/17/15)
    The ACA drew attention to issues of health insurance literacy, particularly with health insurance coverage. Produced with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this toolkit looks at both health literacy and health insurance literacy for Americans buying and using health insurance.
  • Understanding Health Insurance (Added 12/16/14)
    Every librarian will be happy to know about this user-friendly site from the Kaiser Family Foundation that helps consumers learn the basics about insurance. Resources are available in Spanish too:

Webinars and Trainings (Events and Recordings)

State-Specific Resources

Getting Up to Speed - the Essentials

Get Official Resources

Resources for Libraries


Uninsured Population by State

Featured Resource

Health Care Law and Your Taxes, IRS Publication 5201

This tax-filing season brings some major changes! This image shows part of an easy-to-understand graphic that breaks down the tax implications for consumers; click the image for the full infographic. See below for more resources regarding new forms and information about filing 2015 tax returns. (Updated 1/8/16)

State Medicaid Expansion

As part of the Affordable Care Act, individual states were given the choice to expand Medicaid services. Learn more about Medicaid expansion and find information about specific states at the page below from

Map of US showing Current Status of State Medicaid Expansion as of August 2014

Special Populations

Diverse group of young adults

As we find resources for specific populations or audiences, we'll post them here.

State Health Insurance Marketplaces

States will either choose to provide a Health Insurance Marketplace or to participate in the federal Marketplace. American Samoa, Guam, and Northern Mariana Islands have not established Health Insurance Marketplaces.

Health Centers - Grantees by State

Community health centers have been essential in the effort to help people understand their options and sign up for health insurance.  This effort is being supported through 2014, with new grants just announced on December 11. Go to the link below and choose from the map to see a list of the community health centers in your state.


MedlinePlus for Trusted Health Information

MedlinePlus is a vital resource for quality health information of all kinds, including health insurance and the Affordable Care Act. Visit the newly enhanced Health Insurance Health Topic page for links to essential information for library patrons and consumers.

MedlinePlus Trusted Health Information for You

Health Insurance Marketplace

Get quick answers about Obamacare laws and the Health Insurance Marketplace has good, easy-to-understand information for consumers; use it with your library patrons.

Readings of Interest

  • Librarians to Help with Health Law
    This article from the Minnesota Public Radio discusses the role of libraries as they gear up to help the public understand their choices for health insurance under the new law.
  • Tracking ACA Implementation in California
    This guide from the California Healthcare Foundation tracks the California implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), describing requirements for public and private coverage, what steps have been taken and what still needs to be accomplished.
  • Institute of Medicine (IOM) Roundtable on Health Literacy Page
    See this page for links to several timely and relevant papers, such as "Let's Ask 4: Questions for Consumers and Providers About Health Insurance", Amplifying the Voice of the Underserved in the Implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and Helping Consumers Understand and Use Health Insurance in 2014.

About This Guide

This guide is a collection of selected links and resources to help libraries, hospitals, and other organizations help people find information and learn about the Affordable Care Act and their choices for health insurance.

The guide will be continually updated as new information and resources become available. Please feel free to link to this guide or reuse any of the content created here.

Note about accessibility: To see the URLs associated with the hyperlinks on the page, please click on Print Guide. This will load a page with the URLs visible, which will be helpful for printing and screen readers.


NN/LM Pacific Southwest Region

Logo NNLM Pacific Southwest Region

NN/LM PSR is part of the regional outreach program of the National Library of Medicine, located at the Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library at UCLA. Our region includes Arizona, California, Hawai'i, Nevada, and the U.S. Territories in the Pacific.

Our mission is to enhance access to health information for health professionals and the public. For more information about NN/LM PSR, please visit our website at

Is something missing from this guide? Comments or suggestions are welcome! Contact us at

Contact us at:

National Network of Libraries of Medicine

National Network Office

National Library of Medicine

8600 Rockville Pike, Bldg. 38, Room B1-E03

Bethesda, Maryland 20894


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