New research shows exchanges will compete with private insurers; insurance sites as a whole provide a poor shopping experience

Dec 10, 2013, 12:00 ET from Change Sciences

NEW YORK, Dec. 10, 2013  /PRNewswire/ -- Web researchers Change Sciences Group released new data today comparing the insurance shopping experience on public health exchange web sites, including the new site, with the shopping experience on private health insurance sites. According to the research, the new site (released on November 30) offers an insurance shopping experience which is now on par with leading private insurer web sites such as Aetna, eHealth and Kaiser Permanente. State exchange web site AccessHealthCT also performs well when compared to private health insurance sites.

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Other state exchanges fare worse however. According to the research, insurance shoppers found CoveredCA, MNsure, and Connect for Health Colorado significantly less engaging than AccessHealthCT. Some private exchanges fared poorly according to other measures as well. eHealth is significantly more usable than any private or public site. The new site is dramatically more engaging, usable, and likely to convert than it was in early November. Since then, the insurance shopping experience has improved overall by 30%, which moved it up to second in the study from its bottom ranking.

Both the public and private insurance sites studied fall far behind of the shopping experiences provided by top e-commerce sites such as Amazon and Kayak, two sites President Obama has cited as benchmarks for As a group, health insurance sites perform far worse than the two top e-commerce sites for hard measures of usability, such as time on task and success rate, as well as softer usability measures like perceived ease of use and perceived success.

According to Pamela Pavliscak, who directed the research project, "There has been a perception that private insurers were far ahead of the public exchanges. This new data shows that the public exchanges can be competitive, at least in support of shopping for plans. It also shows online direct-to-consumer health insurance has a long way to go before it is as easy to shop for a health plan as it is to shop for a TV or a plane ticket."

The new data is based on Change Sciences' Experience Cloud platform, which makes it possible to measure and compare how people experience web sites to identify best practices and opportunities for improvement. To learn more about the research, visit: The following sites are covered in the research: AccessHealthCT, Aetna, Connect for Health Colorado, CoveredCA, eHealth,, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, and MNsure.

About Change Sciences
Change Sciences is a group of qualitative researchers, data scientists, and software engineers dedicated to helping organizations measure and compare how people experience web sites. It counts 18 Fortune 100 companies as clients and has completed more than 700 projects in the last five years for clients in financial services, healthcare, entertainment, travel, government, e-commerce, and e-learning.

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SOURCE Change Sciences