Promoting Healthy Communities: Libraries Connecting You to Coverage

PLA’s Insurance Education and Outreach Initiative

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation logo


As part of its ongoing work to support the public library’s role in creating healthy communities, the Public Library Association (PLA) is offering resources for libraries to help more Americans enroll in affordable health insurance. Through its second annual initiative, Libraries Connecting You to Coverage, PLA is offering mini-grants of $500 to support up to 100 U.S. public libraries. Awardees will disseminate information, offer education, partner with health insurance enrollment and provider groups, and encourage community members to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace during the open enrollment period.

PLA also is providing all libraries with tips and tools to make educating communities easy, including resources and communication assets found below.

To apply for a PLA mini-grant, please complete the Libraries Connecting You to Coverage: 2019–2020 online application. Priority will be given to applicants in states that utilize the federal marketplace platform ( or the Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM). View a list of states with their insurance marketplace types.

Applications must be submitted by 11:59 PM Central Time on Tuesday, September 24, 2019. Awardees will be notified in early October.

During the first year of the initiative in 2019, PLA has distributed quality materials and communications, and offered $300 mini-grants to 64 U.S. public libraries (PDF) to disseminate, offer education, and encourage their communities to enroll in the health insurance Marketplace during the Open Enrollment period. Twelve libraries went on to participate in the second round of funding. The second round of funding application period offered 40 U.S. public libraries mini-grants of $500 to implement outreach and education activities for understanding health insurance and health information. View the complete list of Round 2 grantees (PDF).

This national partnership to assist uninsured consumers in enrolling in the Affordable Care Act is made possible by funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Community Catalyst.

What Libraries Can Do

The 2020 Open Enrollment Period of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” is expected to run from November 1, 2019 to December 15, 2019 for states utilizing the Federally-facilitated Marketplace.* Plans sold during Open Enrollment start January 1, 2020.

This page serves as a guide for public library staff with limited prior knowledge of health insurance and resources to educate and assist consumers with coverage enrollment.

*Dates may vary in states that utilize a State-based Marketplace (SBM).

Resources for libraries:

  1. Enrollment Assister Readiness materials:
  2. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services:
  3. Coverage plans and more:
  4. Health news and program ideas for your library:
  5. Turning the Page:
  6. National Network of Libraries of Medicine:
  7. Insurance Jargon:
  8. Training for Patrons: DigitalLearn’s Searching for Online Health Information: