Libraries Connecting You to Coverage: Affordable Care Act

PLA’s Insurance Education and Outreach Initiatives

PLA, in partnership with Community Catalyst and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, for the third year are working together to inform communities about health insurance enrollment. PLA will continue to help libraries promote the Open Enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act for 2021 and will add information on how to promote Medicaid all year long.

Public Library Association logo
Community Catalyst logo
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation logo

Public libraries, as critical community anchors, are well positioned to share information about insurance enrollment, to support patron’s efforts to enroll successfully, and to advance population health with improved outcomes.

  • In response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, President Biden issued an Executive order opening a new COVID Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for individuals and families for federal Marketplace coverage with an additional three month extension. Beginning February 15, 2021 through August 15, 2021, these Marketplaces will be open to allow for new applications or to update existing application. State-Based Marketplaces (SBMS) also have extended enrollment periods to support this SEP.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) wanted to ensure that anyone who is uninsured would be able to have access to coverage regardless of their life circumstances. Typical SEPs require a qualifying event for an individual to be eligible for a SEP. The COVID SEP does not require any of these events to have occurred for an individual to be eligible for the SEP. No documentation is required for the COVID SEP as there is no reason to provide confirmation of a qualifying event.
  • Under the COVID SEP, coverage begins the next month regardless of how late in the month it is, so if someone enrolls in a plan on the last day of the month, the coverage would start the very next day.
  • Medicaid enrollment is possible at any time during the year. Applications can go through the Federal Marketplace or through individual state agencies. For materials to promote Medicaid enrollment, visit our Medicaid Outreach Partnership hub.

Awareness and Prevention for Patrons

Promote the Special Enrollment Period of February 15, 2021–August 15, 2021. Tell your community the library is here to help learn about and enroll in health insurance coverage plans!

Advertise on social media, tv, radio and other outlets using the ready-made communications assets in the Outreach Hub* for:

*Assets in the Outreach Hub folder will be updated on an ongoing basis to reflect the current year 2020. Most assets are editable and may be adapted to your library’s branding.

Host workshops or informational sessions for your patrons

Distribute printed materials

Professional Development for Library Staff

Reach out to community partners and healthcare advocates to share expertise and get assistance with enrollment.

Familiarize yourself with exceptions that allow consumers to enroll outside the Open Enrollment period. Promote the screening tool at for people to determine if they can complete Special Enrollment or enroll in Medicaid or CHIP.

Additional Resources

PLA "Get Covered Connector" widget screenshotUse the "Get Covered Connector" to look for certified enrollment organizations in your area to refer your patrons!

Embed this code on your site to display the “Get Covered Connector” widget on your site:

<p><script async data-partner="z-public-library-association"
data-language="en-us" data-width="500"
-->Communications Assets

Right-click on a link and select "Save link as…" to save the image/file to your computer.

-->Social Media Assets

Social media messaging templates (Microsoft Word DOC)

(Click images to expand, right-click and save image to download)




Be sure to use the hashtag #GetCovered in all of your social media posts!


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Library Mini Awards

On September 14, 2020 PLA announced awardees for its third year (PDF) of the Libraries Connecting You to Coverage initiative. New to the initiative this year, PLA has awarded 19 libraries $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). 13 libraries have received $1,000 to support efforts to increase communication, awareness and education about the upcoming Open Enrollment period, 8 of which also received funding to become CDOs!

During its second annual initiative in 2019–2020, PLA offered mini-grants to support up to 100 U.S. public libraries (PDF) who disseminated information, offered education, partnered with health insurance enrollment and provider groups, and encouraged community members to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace during the open enrollment period. For its first year of the initiative in 2019, PLA distributed quality materials and communications, and offered mini-grants to 64 U.S. public libraries (PDF) and again to 40 U.S. public libraries (PDF) to implement outreach and education activities for understanding health insurance and health information.

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.