Users of Covered California, the state's health insurance marketplace, have found the online application process to be fraught with difficulties.
This report describes findings from direct, unscripted observations of people attempting to enroll online during the second and third open enrollment periods (2014-15 and 2015-16). This real-time consumer user research captured the challenges that participants experienced. Across both years, few study participants were able to complete an online renewal or enrollment during the research session.
- Many participants spent a significant amount of time reviewing plan options in the "window shopping" parts of the website, not realizing that actual plan choice occurs only in the application.
- Unclear guidance and questions related to income and household size resulted in errors in critical sections of the application.
- Poorly designed online forms and processes frustrated users and diminished their confidence in the site.