Designing the Prototype for State Health Insurance Marketplace Websites

Developing tools and principles to maximize enrollment in health insurance plans through well-designed, consumer-friendly web portals

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 11 states, and 8 foundations collaborated to develop a design prototype for enrollment websites for the federal and state marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act.

Dates of Project: June 2011 to June 2012

Description: The collaborators worked with IDEO, a global design firm, to develop a design standard for enrollment portals for federal and state health insurance marketplaces.

Key Results: The project produced a state-of-the-art design standard for ACA enrollment to inform national- and state-level health care marketplace design, with a goal of allowing large numbers of eligible consumers to enroll in coverage. The design prototype—known as Enroll UX 2014—models a process that seeks to ask users the minimum number of questions necessary and to focus them on a few key decision points.

A number of the participating states have created state-based marketplaces using elements of the design in their enrollment websites. Although the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services did not formally adopt the design prototype for the federal marketplace, there are some similarities to it.

“We didn’t want it to look like traditional government websites.”—Catherine Teare, California HealthCare Foundation

To make something complicated, you don’t really need to understand it well. To make it simple, you need to understand it well.”—Mark Smith, California HealthCare Foundation