Today, October 1st, is the beginning of enrollment in online health insurance marketplaces nationwide. The exchanges are at the center of the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare), the largest healthcare expansion this country has seen in nearly half a century.

Demand in this first day of the six-month open-enrollment period has been incredible, overwhelming some systems, inspite of the battle on Capital Hill over the debt ceiling and implementaion of the health care overhaul.

Nurses have a major role to play in educating patients about coverage options and enrollment. Though you may not have much experience talking to patients and community members about insurance, think of it as another aspect of health care education.

How Nurses Can Champion Coverage

  • Educate yourself first by downloading a “fast facts” toolkit that includes handouts, fact sheets, and brochures. Or you can watch videos or view PowerPoint presentations until you feel comfortable answering patient questions about enrolling for coverage.

For the ACA Toolkit, click here.

For Marketplace Training Resources, click here.

  • Share what you find out with others – most of these resources are available online, through text messages, emails, and toll-free phone calls. (In English and Spanish, too.) You can also help patients sign up for coverage. And don’t forget to spread the word to others at work, during nursing rounds, say, or other types of educational sessions.

Online: or  (texts and emails available, too)

24/7 Consumer Call Center: 800-318-2596 (available in 150 languages!)

Social Media in English and Spanish:

    • @HealthCareGov
    • @CuidadoDeSalud
See also
Study Shows More Latinos Covered by Health Insurance

How are you taking the charge in alerting uninsured or underinsured patients about coverage under the Affordable Care Act? We’d love to hear what’s working for you!


Jebra Turner is a health reporter and former H.R. director, where she oversaw workplace health and safety training programs for staff and clients. She lives in Portland, Oregon, but you can visit her online at

Jebra Turner
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