Finding your perfect health plan with Stride just got even easier
If you’re self-employed or an independent worker who’s purchased health insurance for yourself before, you probably remember the process as being time-consuming and painful (unless you used Stride!). As we near Open Enrollment for 2016 on November 1st — the one time period during the year you can buy or switch insurance plans — you’re probably wondering why on earth you should go through the process again.
Re-evaluating your health plan each year will save you money, and you might be surprised by the amount. A recent article by the Kaiser Family Foundation helps bring this to life: let’s assume you’re a 40 year old man living in Seattle, WA. In 2015, you purchased a plan from Bridgespan for $254 per month. That same plan will cost $286 per month in 2016, a 12% increase. If you instead re-evaluated your options for 2016, you’d find a comparable plan from Ambetter, another insurance company, for $225 per month, a 10% decrease in your cost from 2015! This example from Seattle has been proven to be true across the country: Last year, a study of the health insurance marketplaces found that 70% of consumers could save money by switching to a new plan during Open Enrollment.
At Stride, we believe it should be simple to re-evaluate your needs each year, to make sure you have a health plan that saves you the most money while meeting your health needs. Today, we’re rolling out product enhancements that simplify the process of comparing and selecting a plan for 2016. As Stride’s Product Lead, I wanted to share some of the customer insights behind these exciting improvements.
What we’ve heard from our members (you!)
“I love the recommendation, but where are the other options?”
At Stride, we take a lot of pride in our ability to crunch the data to find you the perfect plan, taking into account your existing physicians, prescriptions, health conditions, and estimated care costs. Our personalized plan recommendation has proven to save our customers an average of $418 per year on their health insurance. Yet, when it comes to making the recommendation, we consistently heard that you wanted to see more than one option. There were many reasons for this: you had a prior bad experience with the insurance company we recommended; you had a preference for plans with a higher monthly cost, but fewer out-of-pocket expenses; or you knew a surgery or baby (congrats!) was in your future and wanted a plan that offered good benefits for these services. We learned that presenting various insurance options helps you determine if the plan we recommended is actually the best plan for you.
When you come to Stride to pick a plan this year, we now show two additional plans alongside our recommended plan – we show you plans that might better meet your specific needs that aren’t captured by our recommendation. For example, we’ll show the lowest premium plan to help cost-conscious shoppers quickly view that option. We’ll show a plan that’s similar to the recommended plan but from a different insurance company, in case you prefer Blue Cross Blue Shield over Kaiser (you know who you are!). Or we’ll show a plan with a lower deductible than your recommended plan, in case you prefer fewer out-of-pocket costs throughout the year. These additional plan options are designed to help you quickly find your perfect plan even faster (than our current average time to purchase of 10 minutes!).
“It’s not easy to compare between two plans I’m considering.”
When deciding between two different brands of the same food at the grocery store, most people pick up both items and simultaneously look them over – they do the classic “side-by-side comparison.” This is straight-forward when comparing physical goods, but it becomes much harder when comparing two health plans online, particularly when designing an experience that works well on mobile devices.
We dug into usage data on our product, and we noticed you were digging deep into a plan’s details then backing all the way out to select another plan to dig into. Many of you would drill into our scenario modeling feature to see what you’d pay for different emergencies under each plan. Others would dive into the specifics of our estimated care costs to see what we were forecasting for your doctor visits or specific prescriptions. Some of you would repeat this behavior 5+ times before settling on a final choice for your health plan. We realized it was time that we take on the design challenge of a mobile-first side-by-side comparison for health plans.
With this product update, we’re introducing the only mobile-first side-by-side comparison of health insurance plans. This new feature will allow you to place two plans side-by-side on your mobile phone and compare the specific benefits of each. Gone are the days of waiting until you’re back around a computer to do research on your options or read the fine print of each plan. You won’t find this functionality on any other site.
“Make the options and terminology easier to understand at a glance.”
We pride ourselves on putting health insurance terms into language that YOU understand. When your insurance company says “deductible,” we say “the amount you’ll pay out-of-pocket before your insurance company starts to pay for services.” When your insurance company says “maximum out of pocket,” we say “the most you’ll pay out-of-pocket in a year in a worst case scenario.” We know all you care about is how your choice of plan will affect your health and your wallet. We make it our job to translate everything into language and numbers that are relevant specifically to YOU! Plus, Noah (our CEO) really hates for the word “deductible.”
Yet, we realized we needed to go a step further in helping you understand many of the data points you rely upon to make a decision about your health insurance. In this product update, we’ve made two changes to solve these challenges. First, we’ve updated the plan summaries with a few additional data points and changed the visual layout to make them easier to scan when stacked in a list. This will save you time when reviewing different options to figure out which plans are worth exploring further. Second, we’ve added explanatory sections to key data points when you view a plan. For example, we made it clearer that our estimated care costs are a forecast of your out-of-pocket expenses on top of your monthly premium payments. This number is designed to help you assess each plan in the context of what you might spend in a normal year, so you can find one that minimizes your costs.
We’re excited for you to try out these important updates and let us know what you think. 2016 health plans are being added to our site each day. You can begin building your profile and exploring your options now so you can save even more time finding your perfect health plan for 2016 come Open Enrollment on November 1st.
If you have any feedback on your experience with the product, I’d love to hear from you directly: firstname.lastname@example.org