As I mentioned before, I am actually shopping for insurance right now. I'm in good health and could probably buy insurance on the private market for a bit less than what I've been paying COBRA for the past several months, but I thought I'd wait to see what the exchanges had to offer. This is the story of my adventure on CoveredCA.
I signed up early, was able to compare prices somewhat and already had a login before the October 1st rollout. I finally found the time and motivation to do some for real shopping. It's 7:17pm and I'm logging in.
It's showing the strain of prime time load, the poor thing.
It turns out to be a very linear navigation, and by "very" I mean "exclusively." It's next-next-next until you see at least three text regions overlapping each other, like an HTML panel editor threw up in the corner.
It looks terrible but I just need to click Select Health / Dental Plan so I move on.
I get to my selection of 26 plans, of which I can view exactly three at a time. There's too much real estate at the top being used by navigation links I don't care about right now, leaving precious little room at the bottom for a ridiculously constrained scrolling region containing all the information I really want. In this picture you can see two rows of that.
And here's a collapsed list of all the information you can scroll through down there. If you count you'll see there's a lot. It's all useful and I wish I could view it more easily.
Here's a tip for all you twelve year old kids who want to build web applications like this one: The ideal number of scroll bars on a given page is zero. One is marginally acceptable but if you have two or more they interfere with each other and that's bad. Very bad.
Let's get to the part where I search for my doctor. He's not there. I hope he hasn't left town but when I search by name this is what I get.
And this is what I get when I search for "S"
I point this out not because it's broken, in fact it works perfectly fine. However, that NextLast bugs me. It makes me want to open a text editor and fix it, but I can't, so it's just annoying.
Let me show you a brilliant health care web site.
This is Palo Alto Medical Foundation. They've been pioneers in health web applications from the very beginning so when I say it's a brilliant site I mean it. It's been polished by years of heavy use, tweaks, and overhauls. Notice the clean layout containing lots of information. Everything you think you should click on, you can. From here you can do any number of things, whether logging in or checking urgent care wait times. And what's that at the top of Special Notices? A list of ACA plans. Just what I need!
However, on the CoveredCA site, I can't search by plan name, or much of anything really. I can browse and find the plans easily enough. It browses side to side with lots of stuff to read, here's an example of some of the mouse overs.
The automatic timeout works, and it is nothing if not secure.