Unveiling Enroll UX 2014 Design: Welcome to Coverage

A new standard for public and private health insurance enrollment

Most Americans apply for health coverage the same way they did 30 years ago: completing a paper form and waiting to be notified of their eligibility by mail.

This is a significant drain on government resources, families, and businesses. The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires states to develop self-service online enrollment processes that are as easy to use as the most popular commercial websites. And, with some 40 million more Americans becoming eligible for coverage in 2014, experts say the current system will buckle under the load if the enrollment process is not brought into the 21st century.

For the past year, a coalition of 11 states, the federal government, eight charitable foundations, and a leading Silicon Valley design firm have collaborated to meet this challenge.

The solution, Enroll UX 2014 (www.UX2014.org), is being released today at a meeting of federal and state officials in San Francisco, and will be made available at no cost to every state and the federal government.

Enroll UX 2014 provides a road map for every state and the federal government to create a state-of-the-art, online process for application, eligibility determination, enrollment, and health plan selection. It can be customized by states to be the public face of the insurance exchanges required by the federal health reform law.

The California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) was the managing partner for this unprecedented private-public collaboration.

“We live in a digital society. Access to health coverage should be as straightforward as other transactions people are accustomed to, whether it’s online banking or travel arrangements,” said Mark D. Smith, MD, MBA, president and CEO of CHCF.

IDEO, a global design and innovations firm, led the Enroll UX 2014 consumer research and design effort. IDEO has a proven track record for simplifying complex systems and creating effective user experiences. IDEO interviewed consumers in three states to understand their perspectives on public and private health coverage enrollment. They also spoke with policy and industry experts and studied how similar challenges are handled in parallel industries.

“The opportunity to design a better consumer enrollment experience that is flexible and customizable to meet the needs of the states and federal government was a gratifying challenge,” said Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO. “We found this project particularly rewarding because it made the challenging issue of health insurance easier and more streamlined for consumers.”

The complexity of the task — including evolving federal policy and time and resource constraints — required an interactive design process that was inclusive and acknowledged state-to-state variation. State-based teams, staff from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and designers met frequently to understand requirements and develop and review designs that were evaluated by consumers and accessibility experts.

The deliverables include an interactive prototype that walks the user through a complex enrollment scenario, a detailed design specifications manual to support state and federal customization, and original iconography and illustrations.

“CMS is working to leverage aspects of the design for the model application and Internet portal as well as our build of the federally facilitated exchange,” said Timothy Hill, deputy director of the CMS Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO). “The design offers a modern and consumer-friendly approach built on research and best practices to provide a consistent customer experience to individuals and families seeking coverage.”

Other federal officials stress the significance of the effort in aiding states as they address their private and public health enrollment challenges. “We encourage state leaders to consider the Enroll UX 2014 design approach as they work to achieve a first-class consumer experience to assist millions in gaining access to coverage,” said Penny Thompson, deputy director of the CMS Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS).

No matter the outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision on the ACA, noted Smith of CHCF, “Enroll UX 2014 is a major step forward in modernizing the health insurance enrollment process for millions of people — and at no cost to the public.”

States participating in Enroll UX 2014: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts (in a consortium with Rhode Island and Vermont), Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Oregon, and Tennessee.

Enroll UX 2014 foundation partners that financed the project: The Atlantic Philanthropies, Blue Shield of California Foundation, The California Endowment, California HealthCare Foundation, The Colorado Health Foundation, Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit, New York State Health Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The Enroll UX 2014 design prototype, background video featuring project participants, and more information about the project are available at www.ux2014.org.

Interviews are available upon request.

Contact Information:
Steven Birenbaum
Senior Communications Officer

About the California Health Care Foundation

The California Health Care Foundation is dedicated to advancing meaningful, measurable improvements in the way the health care delivery system provides care to the people of California, particularly those with low incomes and those whose needs are not well served by the status quo. We work to ensure that people have access to the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford.