The following blog was written by Elisabeth Rodman, Health Policy Analyst at Families USA.
Today we’re launching a new blog series, called Technology Tuesdays, to highlight simple yet sophisticated ideas, techniques, and strategies that make use of technology to ensure a simple, consumer-friendly health coverage enrollment process. Some of the posts in this series will highlight strategies that come from successful companies and organizations in the health care field, while some techniques will be from other industries. The point is to generate creative thinking about user-friendly ways to get and keep people enrolled in health coverage.
While retail stores have been thriving on the Internet for years, health insurance is a fairly new addition to the online market. The Affordable Care Act helps bring health coverage into the 21st century by requiring that Americans across the country be able to purchase high quality, affordable health coverage through new insurance exchanges. People will be able to apply for and renew coverage online, over the phone, by mail, by fax, or in person. Now the challenge is to figure out how exchanges can best allow consumers to purchase coverage online easily and efficiently.
So, let’s dive in!
Groupon’s “How It Works” Page
Understanding new websites and new models for purchasing products can be confusing for the first-time customer, so instructions need to be accessible and easy to understand. The highly successful group coupon website, Groupon.com, offers a one-page explanation of how the site and the program work. It explains how to use a Groupon in three easy steps. As you can see here, you can learn how to use your Groupon without scrolling up or down on the webpage because all of the text fits on one screen. The key steps are written in plain language that is easy to understand, and using the phrases “Get It,” “Share It,” and “Enjoy It” makes it easy to remember. The images and short descriptions give consumers a better sense of how Groupon works.
(Image via Groupon.com)
Sure, enrolling in health coverage might be a bit more complicated than buying a Groupon, but could this type of short explanation help consumers understand how a state’s exchange works? Could there be a brief, easy explanation of the application, eligibility determination, and enrollment process for health coverage that is written in plain language and aided by brief descriptions and images? Would it make online applications and exchanges more inviting? We think the answer is yes.
What might something like this look like? The Children’s Partnership has created a visual that shows how a consumer-friendly enrollment process might work in California. Visuals like this might be effective tools for exchange websites in every state.
Feedback Encouraged: This blog series is intended to encourage discussion and brainstorming. Do you think a certain strategy or technology would work particularly well in simplifying enrollment in health coverage? What are the pitfalls or hurdles to overcome? What has your organization or state already tried, and how well did it work? We welcome your ideas via email, and we hope to highlight some of the feedback we receive in future blogs.]]>