Libraries Connecting You to Coverage

Certified Application Counselor (CAC) for the Affordable Care Act Application Preview

PLA, in partnership with Community Catalyst and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, are working together to inform communities about the Open Enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act for 2021. Open enrollment begins November 1, 2020–December 15, 2020. Consumers that receive in-person assistance are nearly 60% more likely to enroll in the health insurance marketplace. Public libraries, as critical community anchors, are well positioned to share information about the open enrollment period, to support patron’s efforts to enroll successfully, and to advance population health with improved outcomes.

Up to 30 public libraries in states that utilize the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM)* will receive $1,000 to support their organization in becoming a Certified Application Counselor Designated Organization (CDO) and certifying at least one staff member and/or volunteer as a Certified Application Counselor (CAC). The CAC training will take an estimated ~25 hours to complete for one person.

Up to 10 of the awarded public libraries will also receive an additional $1,000 in funding to support efforts to increase communication, awareness and education about the upcoming Open Enrollment period which begins November 1–December 15, 2020.

All awardees will be required to do brief monthly reporting on communications metrics and related outreach activities. Please review PLA's timeline for all deadlines as they relate to CDO and CAC certification.

*To see if your state utilizes the Federal Marketplace, please review the list here: Medicaid and Health Insurance Marketplace Coordination (Kaiser Family Foundation).

The application should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. To complete the application you'll need the following information:

Library Profile

  • Application Submitter Contact Information. All items are required to be completed in order to be eligible for mini-grants.
    • Name
    • Library Name
    • Address
    • City
    • State
    • Postal Code
    • Email Address
    • Phone Number
    • Are you a PLA member? Yes / No / Don't know
    • If yes, enter your ALA/PLA Member ID
  • Please enter your specific library branch name, if any.
  • My library locale is (as defined by IMLS):
    • Rural
    • City
    • Suburban
    • Town
  • What is the population size your library serves?
    • Less than 5,000
    • 5,000–9,999
    • 10,000–24,999
    • 25,000–49,999
    • 50,000–99,999
    • 100,000–249,999
    • 250,000–499,999
    • 500,000–999,999
    • 1,000,000 or greater
    • Not sure
    • N/A
  • Using the 2018 U.S. Census Bureau Data, select your state and county to find the number of uninsured persons. Select the range that fits your county's data best:
    • Under 1,000
    • 1,000–5,000
    • 5,000–10,000
    • 10,000–24,000
    • Over 25,000
  • How does this grant fit into your library's or community's strategic goals?
    • Sustainability: The grant will contribute to the sustainability of the library's existing health efforts.
    • Reach: The grant will allow the library to reach large portions of its service area and/or serve new patrons in the community, especially the uninsured.
    • Community Partnerships: The grant will allow the library to engage with more community health partners.
    • Outcomes: The grant will allow the library to measure short and long term outcomes for advancing population health.
    • Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice: The grant will advance the library's efforts to address equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice as it pertains to addressing social determinants of health.
    • Other
    • N/A

CMS Application Data

  • In order to become a Certified Application Counselor Designated Organization (CDO) your library must identify your Organization Senior Official on the CDO Application. This person must have the authority to sign legal and financial documentation and will be responsible for signing your library's agreement with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The Organization Senior Official cannot be the same individual as the CAC Project Director.

    Please enter the following contact information for your Organization Senior Official if different than the applicant contact information:
    • Full Name
    • Email Address
    • Job Title
  • On the Certified Application Counselor Designated Organization (CDO) Application, your library must also identify your Certified Application Counselor (CAC) Project Director. This individual will be responsible for maintaining CDO requirements and records as well as managing the certification process for all Certified Application Counselors. The CAC PD cannot be the same individual identified as the Organization Senior Official. CMS requirements for this position can be found on the CDO Organizational Maintenance Web Form User Guide.

    Please enter the following contact information for your CAC Project Director if different than the applicant contact information:
    • Full Name
    • Email Address
    • Job Title
  • Describe your library's plan to select and certify individual Certified Application Counselors (CAC). Think about who you will select and how you will manage the certification process.
  • Once your organization is certified as a CDO you will be able to train and certify individual CACs. Have you already identified who your library's CAC will be?
    • Yes
    • No
  • Please share the CAC's contact information below:
    • Full Name
    • Email
    • Job Title
  • As your library navigates the process to become a CDO as well as the CAC certification and training, what challenges do you anticipate?

CMS Application Data Part II

  • If awarded funds through PLA to support your library becoming a CDO, your library must agree to:
    1. Submit final CDO certification paperwork to PLA.
    2. Submit final CAC certification paperwork to PLA.
    3. Track and report on metrics monthly.
  • In order to become a Certified Application Counselor Designated Organization, according to CMS, your library must agree to:
    1. Establish processes to certify staff and volunteers to be CACs;
    2. Have safeguards in place for protecting the privacy and security of personally identifiable information (PII) to ensure the appropriate handling of consumers PII as you provide assistance in the marketplace;
    3. Establish processes to ensure that CACs do not have any conflicts of interest;
    4. Ensure individual CACs complete training, comply with privacy security laws, and meet other program standards.
  • In addition to the $1,000 support to help your organization become a CDO and certifying at least one individual as a CAC, is your organization also interested in applying for $1,000 to help support or expand your outreach efforts as they relate to healthcare and the open enrollment period for 2021? Please note that only 10 libraries will be eligible for this additional $1,000 in outreach support.
    • Yes
    • No
  • If approved for the additional $1,000 in outreach support, your library will be required to track and report on a variety of metrics monthly. Select at least three metrics you will track if approved:
    • Twitter (Impressions, Engagement, Target Audience)
    • Instagram (Impressions, Engagement, Target Audience)
    • Website/Blog Metrics (links, other)
    • Email Metrics (Deliveries, Opens, Clicks)
    • Virtual or In-Person Event Metrics (Quantity, Type, Location, Total Audience)
    • Handouts (Quantity Delivered, Quantity Printed, Methods of Delivery)
    • Library Display (Type, feedback, items circulated)
    • Radio Advertising/PSA Metrics (Station Name, Quantity of ads/PSAs, Reach)
    • Other Advertising Metrics (Platform, Reach, Distribution area)

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.