Redesigning the New York Healthcare Exchange

Choosing the wrong healthcare plan is a disaster. In this exercise, I re-imagine a better browsing experience for choosing the right plan.


The NY healthcare exchange offers an array of options for people that do not have health insurance through employment or other means. Healthcare is a complex topic as it is, and hard to understand, and oftentimes, choosing the wrong plan can result in costly financial consequences . In this challenge, I re-imagine the plan browsing experience to make it easier for people to view, compare, and understand all the factors that go into choosing the right plan.

Information on exchange enrollees

- Adults aged 19–64 account for more than four out of five individuals in our projected 2019 Exchange population (84%), (a higher proportion than those currently insured by an employer or a Non group policy (75% and 70%, respectively).

- The average age of all individuals in the Exchange population is 35, while the average age among adults in the Exchange is 40. About half (52%) of the adults are married, and, on average, a family entering the Exchange contains 2.6 individuals.

- Median income among Exchange enrollees is 235% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (i.e., $23,994 individual/$48,528 family of four in 2007).

- Exchange enrollees are wealthier than the current uninsured population (median income 175% FPL) but poorer than those currently covered by an employer (423%) or a Non group plan (337%).

- Males make up a slight majority (52%) of the Exchange population, and the population is more racially and ethnically diverse (58% white, 11% black, 25% Hispanic) than other privately-insured populations.

- Overall, about one in four Exchange enrollees speaks a language other than English in the home (23%).

-Adults who enroll in the Exchange tend to have lower levels of education than adults with coverage through their employer (77% High School diploma or less vs. 55% of those covered by an employer); however, four out of five adult Exchange enrollees are employed (80%),and nine out of ten enrollees have at least one employed person in the household (93%).

Traits of Exchange Enrollees

  1. Working class families living below the poverty line.
  2. Many display English as a second language. English skills aren’t very strong.
  3. Some are do not have a college-degree.
  4. Adults aged 19–64, Average age is 35, half are married.


It’s difficult to use NY Healthcare Exchange system to choose the right health care plan based on your individual needs.

User Storyboard

This is the user flow for Rick using the NY State Healthcare Marketplace

Defining User Goals

  1. Provide a plan browsing experience that makes it easier for people to view, compare, and understand all the factors that go into choosing the right plan.
  2. Make it easier for people to choose the right plan based on their unique background, needs and financials goals.

User Personas

Main User Needs

Through research and the user personas, here are the user needs which emerged and that I will aim to meet in my design:
  1. Simplicity to enter input. Need it to be quick, easy and intuitive.
  2. Being helpful and clear about quality and affordability. Wants to be assured their choosing right plan.
  3. Convey necessary information in an easy and understanding manner
  4. Ability to compare plan to plan side-by-side with clarity about details and financials

Problems with NY Healthcare Exchange

  • Input options are complex, long and difficult to use. There are far too many steps involved.
  • It’s hard to understand the information and relevance of what is provided in the input.
  • The way the informations is laid-out doesn’t emphasize the important information and numbers.
  • There’s no option to continue with the healthcare plan of your choice.
  • The platform doesn’t encourage trust. The customer doesn’t know where the ratings for the healthcare are coming from. They only know how the quality is measured.
  • This platform lacks personal healthcare questions and is overly-general. It doesn’t provide healthcare plans that can meet your special and individual needs.

Lo-fi protoypes

After understanding the problems with the healthcare exchange, I dived into lo-fi prototypes.

Prioritization of Effort

  1. The NY healthcare exchange platform has a confusing, redundant and difficult to-use input form. Instead of following their model, I created a different method to asking questions from the user. I had an easy to use form with dropbox and fill-in boxes for the user to answer personal questions (income, age, family, tax household, etc) and healthcare questions (special needs and conditions). This way the process for getting information from the user is understandable and streamlined.
  2. After inputting your results, The healthcare exchange provides a list of plans that can “work for you”. However, they are not personalized plans and don’t meet you needs because the platform doesn’t ask for and know your needs and therefore, won’t provide the best plans for the customer’s individuals needs. Once your healthcare needs are factored, in order to display what’s relevant for the user, we show you what’s best overall, what’s best price, and what’s best quality. This way the user can make a well-informed and educated choice for what healthcare plan is best for them not only based on their needs, but also their constraints and limitations.
  3. The healthcare exchanges make it difficult to compare the details and benefits of two plans. In my redesign, I made it so you can see column-by-column what are the differences between the two and how they affect you. There’s a clear checkbox to click compare for the plans you choose, and then a compare button appears and after clicking, it shows you the plans compared side-by-side. This way the user can easily see what plan is best for them according to their needs when they compare plans in the columns aside each other.
  4. The healthcare exchange doesn’t provide an option for purchasing and pursuing getting the insurances. If the user finds the right insurance, how are they suppose to get it then? I provide an option for the user to get the insurance so the user can fulfill their ultimate purpose of getting insured. This way the user achieves their ultimate goal which is to get the best healthcare for them.

Hi-fi Prototype

After sketching some lo-fi prototypes, I realized some changes I had to make to some questions to ensure the customer gets the right healthcare plan suggestions. I also decided to add a intro screen to reinforce the value proposition and drive excitement towards the process, since the last platform has a dry, dull and boring feeling towards it. Healthcare doesn’t have to be boring and complicated. It can be easy!

Desired Impact

  1. Users now have greater ability to provide relevant information over what they need in their healthcare plan. Also it’s in an easy intuitive form format with fills-ins and drop downs to make it effortless to fill out. This meets the users need for input being easy, quick and intuitive.
  2. Unlike the last site, this site gives two clear recommendations for healthcare plans. One that is higher quality and best meets their personal needs and one that meets their needs at a more affordable price. This meets the user’s need for being helpful and transparent about the plans and providing information in an understandable manner.
  3. This updated site has added customer reviews and official ratings from health organizations. Now the customer has more information around making a informed and educated decision about choosing the right. This meets the users’ need for having necessary information and being assured about choosing the right plan.
  4. Users can also compare the two plans directly and even the plans below to find what best works with them. This meets the users’ need for ability to compare plan to plan side-by-side with clarity about details and financials.

Next steps

  1. I’d like to test this design (or a similar design) with users of the nystateofhealth and confirm whether this design solves the problems I intended to solve.
  2. I would also run usability testing and conduct user research around the website to further examine problems users are having with the platform to better understand their needs and how to prioritize them.

Overall this was a fun design challenge to do! If I were brought on the design team I would bring great energy and insight towards user research, testing and rapid iterations, in order to make sure every design improvement that we seek to make solves a problem.