First, the MNsure.org site is a terrible design, everyone who has used it knows that from their own experience and what is more it has never been user tested to fix the user interface problems. After using the site and complaints I have seen online here are a few serious problems:
- People are having trouble creating an account with the rigamarole they put you through with bogus security questions sucked from your credit history.
- Bad code that fails on some web browsers and not others.
- There are many questions about insurance jargon and policy coverage and comparing health coverage, eligibility.
Finding Quick Fixes to Increase Enrollment
Getting a few user tests done by some local user interface professionals could be done in a few days. Some basic user goals and scenarios could be tested and improved within a week. A couple suggestions to get started:
- finding a navigator to assist enrollment
- getting the paper form to use instead of the website
- finding out the status of an application without having to call
- shopping for insurance without creating an account.
The same approach can be taken to improve website speed and performance. Local web site performance consultants can be hired for a day or two to assess problems, propose quick fixes and get some improvements.
Will this approach fix all the problems at MNsure? NO. There are difficult software problems of billing, interface to insurance companies, process flow of the website, bugs in the code, etc. But there are quick improvements that can be made, the Federal site, HealthCare.gov did some of these already.
Quick Examples of Scenarios and Some Heuristic Fixes
Finding Navigators to Help Apply
For many people the web site is just too much of a barrier and they need alternative methods to sign up and/or help from Navigators.
There is a prominent link on the front page to become a “Navigator” and a teeny link that goes to a page that goes to another teeny link for the list of “assisters” which are the same as a navigator but now called something else. There are many citizens needing help negotiating the rules to get health coverage. When I look on Google for “MNsure Navigator List” I do not see the list at the top of the page and the list is not apparent and not among the choices on the result page.
- Get rid of the “assister” label and call them all Navigators or the other way around. Calling navigators assisters and assisters navigators just makes it hard to find the list.
- Instead of just a big button on the home page for joining as a Navigator add a big button to point to the list of Navigators so people get help enrolling by actually finding Navigators.
Finding Paper Forms to Apply
At least if you look up “MNsure paper form” on Google you find it number one on the result page. But on the home page it is located under a teeny little link. It needs a great big button on the home page.
Get Rid of the Big Pictures and Popup Window on the Home Page
Put important info “above the fold” instead of below worthless pictures. The popup window is an annoyance that should go away and its info should be on the home page.
Single Payer Health Care Would Be Even Easier
Of course the most obvious improvement to the website would be extending Medicare for all. No complex eligibility rules, no one left out, may not even need a web site to sign up.