Healthcare Web Site User Experience 2013

The research compares the experience of shopping for health insurance on 9 health insurance web sites. We compare the public exchanges and private health insurance sites for usability, engagement and their likelihood to convert shoppers into buyers.

Making shopping for health insurance as easy as possible for consumers is a cornerstone of health insurance reform. For the public exchanges, improving site usability will increase enrollments. For private insurers, improving user experience will increase market share.

This research is the first of its kind to provide rigorous user experience benchmarks on both private and public exchanges. We provide a framework for comparing how people currently experience the sites along with a set of metrics to track performance over time. Exchanges and private insurers are invited to subscribe to the research to receive details on current best practices as well as a full briefing on problems consumers experienced while shopping on each exchange site.


Throughout November we invited 297 consumers to visit a sample of health insurance web sites, including leading state exchanges, large private insurance web sites and Consumers were asked to use the sites to shop for a plan that met their needs, as well as explore the site for something that interested them. The shopping task allowed for the assessment of site usability and the open ended task allowed for the assessment of engagement. After completing their work, participants were asked a series of questions to assess their likelihood to take action. Typically, sites with better scores for usability and engagement score better for conversion.

Key Research Insights

Among the sites studied, the private insurance sites do not universally outstrip the public sites. To the contrary, AccessHealthCT and are on par with top scoring private insurers. This strongly suggests that private exchanges are on the path to competing with private insurance sites.

Not all state exchanges perform as well as AccessHeathCT, however. Covered CA, MNsure, and Connect for Health CO all perform more poorly for engagement and conversion.

eHealth was considerably more usable than other health exchange sites with a success rate 16% higher than its closest competitor. Success Rate is a key component of a site’s overall usability score. Improves was studied both in early November and early December, after a major update was made to the site. The new saw a 35% increase in the success rate of participants and also experienced significant gains in qualitative metrics, such as perceived ease of use and perceived success. improved in all major areas with the result of a 53% increase in measures related to conversion.

Health Insurance Sites Compared to High Performance E-Commerce Sites

All health insurance web sites have a long way to go before it is as easy to shop for insurance as it is to shop for a television or a plane ticket, two benchmarks the President has cited. Top performing eHealth's overall score is still 16% lower than Kayak and 26% below Amazon.

The research includes the following sites: Access Health CT, Aetna, Connect for Health Colorado, CoveredCA, eHealth,, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, and MNsure.

About Chemistry

This research is based on our Chemistry platform. The Chemistry platform makes it possible to compare usability, engagement and conversion within and between industries. Using the platform our analysts identify best practices and opportunities for improvement. Digital decision makers in 18 Fortune 100 companies currently use the platform to gain insight into their site's performance to move teams forward, confirm assumptions, and track performance over time.

Research Subscriptions

Research subscribers receive a detailed custom report with documentation of design patterns that drive engagement, usability and conversion. This includes a site-level gap analysis, including annotated screenshots showing precisely where and why a site falls short for usability, engagement, and conversion, as well as full scorecard with normalized metrics to track ease of use, engagement, and conversion over time.

Any private insurer or public exchange may subscribe. Purchasing the report is the only requirement for inclusion in the data set.

Full annual subscription cost: $5,999

Download Purchase Agreement

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