Starting October 1, 2013, consumers in Florida will be able to choose new affordable health insurance options through a federally-facilitated Health Insurance Marketplace.

In the past few weeks, we have been hearing more and more about how public libraries will be involved in helping consumers apply through the new Marketplace. Although details are scarce but right now, there are several resources for libraries to help bring you up-to-date and answer a few of your questions:

  • – Primary tool for delivering information to Americans about their health coverage options. This site was updated at the end of June. For Spanish speaking consumers,  has also been updated.
  • The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will partner with libraries to connect patrons with information resources and community partners who are trained to assist with enrollment. IMLS has provided a grant to for this effort.
  • Navigators. These grant-funded individuals or organizations will be trained to help consumers, small businesses, and their employees as they look for health coverage options through the Marketplace, including completing eligibility and enrollment forms. The Navigators are required to be unbiased and their services are free to consumers. When open enrollment starts October 1, 2013, the Marketplace Help Center will assist in finding help for your patrons.
  • Call Center for Marketplace questions. Customer service representatives are available 24/7: 800.318.2596.
  • Online chat is also available 24/7. Look for the blue box on the lower right hand corner on most pages of the site. Customer service representatives will answer questions in online conversations.
  • Throughout July CMS is providing webinars on Health Insurance Marketplace 101.
  • Health Insurance Marketplace provides educational tools, including brochures, articles, training materials and presentations, and widgets. Materials are also available in Spanish.
  • MedlinePlus, administered by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, presents information on medicine and healthcare in easy-to-understand language. The Health Insurance page has links to information on the Affordable Care Act.


Basic Timeline:


Healthcare.govandCuidadoDeSalud.govupdatedConsumers canset up alogin Grants awardedfor NavigatorsConsumers canfind where to goto get helpOpen Enrollment
HHS Call CenterOpens800.318.2596Call Center openfor Small Business

Be sure to subscribe to the Workforce Recovery Update to receive additional information on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Pam Thompson, E-Government Consultant
Bureau of Library Development
Division of Library and Information Services
R.A.Gray Building
500 South Bronough Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250

Questions about Ask a Librarian training opportunities? Contact Virtual Reference Coordinator Traci Avet Hector at