Expanding Health Care Coverage

Grantee Name

Tides Center

Funding Area

Expanding Health Care Coverage

Publication Date

August 2013

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

July 27, 2011 – June 22, 2012

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires states to either establish their own health insurance exchange as the single point of entry for consumers to shop for and enroll in health care plans, or join a federal exchange.

Exchanges will allow individuals and employers to compare the public and subsidized private health insurance options available in their geographic area. A simple, user-friendly way for consumers to understand and navigate the exchanges will be key to helping millions enroll nationwide; in New York State alone, at least 1.2 million uninsured residents are expected to gain coverage under federal health reform.

To meet this challenge, the New York Health Foundation (NYHealth) participated in a project to support Enroll UX 2014, a design for a state-of-the-art online tool to assist consumers with identifying eligibility, selecting a plan, and enrolling in health insurance. In collaboration with eight of the nation’s top health funders, NYHealth awarded a grant to the Tides Center to serve as fiscal sponsor to IDEO; IDEO was awarded a contract to undertake the development of the Enroll UX front-end design.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Conducted qualitative research to understand the needs and desires of target users as they flow in and out of the enrollment process;
  • Translated and synthesized the qualitative research into strategic design principles;
  • Designed information architecture and developed key user flows for the enrollment process;
  • Created detailed specification documents and a technical manual to provide essential guidance to federal and state government vendors and employees;
  • Developed and disseminated materials that showcase the design to state and federal agencies;
  • Produced a customizable, self-service design representing a modern, online approach for consumers to enroll in public and private health insurance; and
  • Provided new tools and thinking to assist states in developing a more consumer-friendly user experience for enrollment. The design has sparked numerous discussions about enrollment portal design, and has raised the bar for vendors to demonstrate that their own portals are responsive to the needs of users.