Medicare Research

Competitive analysis and usability testing the online enrollment process for Medicare
Analyze the client's website against its competitors and suggest areas for improvement around the Medicare enrollment process
Our competitive analysis and usability test findings shed light on customer pain points inspiring a restructuring of the online Medicare experience
Project Type
3 months
Competitive analysis, research planning, note-taking, UI design, prototyping


Health Alliance Plan (HAP) offers a wide variety of Medicare plans to customers across the state of Michigan. However, enrollment in HAP’s Medicare Advantage plans had been lower than forecasted and the organization was curious whether the structure and content on their website had something to do with this.

Originally, this project was divided into two phases – competitive analysis and usability testing. After seeing the results of these two studies, the client asked us to come back for another round of research.

Phase 1 – Competitive analysis

To support HAP's membership growth and to gain a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their online Medicare enrollment experience, I assessed the following HAP webpages against its three main competitors:

  • Main landing page 
  • Main Medicare page
  • Special marketing page for Medicare enrollment
  • Plan comparison tool

Key insights

HAP's strengths​:

  • Ability to Find a Doctor/Pharmacy before starting the enrollment process​
  • Access to Medicare enrollment and information directly from the homepage ​
  • A progress bar on the comparison tool guides users through enrollment process​
  • The comparison tool provides great accessibility ​by allowing users to adjust text size​
  • The plan overview cards show all of the most important details​ one would be looking for when making a decision

Opportunities​ for improvement:

  • Overwhelming amount of information and links on Medicare page can cause frustration ​
  • Difficulty finding information about certain types of plans
  • CTAs are inconsistent across the experience and sometimes misleading​
  • The “Enroll” CTA could easily be missed in the rotating banners on Medicare pages​
  • Special landing page is a dead end​ – it does not provide any links to more plan information

Phase 2 – Usability testing (round one)

Since this test would cover the same pages we analyzed, we used the key findings from our competitive analysis to inform the research questions for our first round of usability testing.

Testing took place remotely via Zoom with six participants, all Michigan residents 60+.

Participant using HAP's plan comparison tool while sharing their screen via Zoom in a usability test

Key takeaways


  • Most people liked the look and feel of the websites. They understood them to be intentionally conversational and inclusive.
  • Once they found the Compare tool, they found it to be very useful.
  • They liked the Checklist content format on the Special Landing Page.
  • Some users said they would be likely to make a phone call or use a free appointment and liked those things being prominent.

Stumbling blocks:

  • Anxiety, suspicion, and a sense of being overwhelmed about Medicare impacts how people use the website.
  • Users cannot find the plan information. Users do not understand that they need to click Enroll to explore plans and they do not want to do so. Additionally, plan information is not available on the special marketing page, and they are reluctant to share their personal information to get the guide.
  • Users strongly prefer to compare plans side by side rather than a vertical scroll
  • Users had difficulty launching the compare experience (they could not find the Compare button).
  • There were general accessibility issues with font size, contrast, and control over the rotating banner.

We left the client with two next steps:

  1. Design a prototype with the suggested user experience improvements and test it.
  2. Create a product roadmap to help prioritize and estimate effort for the recommended additions and enhancements.

Phase 3 – Usability testing (round two)

The client ended up calling us back to design the new prototype and conduct a second round of usability testing. The goal of this second engagement was to help HAP understand the usefulness and usability of for prospective Medicare customers, while also assessing the navigation of and its connected pages.

This time we were able to use Userlytics to recruit participants, conduct sessions, analyze results, and create highlight reels. We also did both moderated and unmoderated tests, again with participants around 55+.

Before (live site) and after (our prototype) of HAP's Medicare Advantage plan pages

Key findings

Successful elements to maintain:

  • Educational content was critical for building trust, reducing anxiety, and empowering those new to Medicare
  • Multiple ways to get help or enroll made users feel in control and respected
  • One page with an overview of all plans allowed customers to understand the full range of options
  • Concise content on very few pages kept users engaged and feeling successful, rather than overwhelmed
  • Tab labels, in-page guidance, and secondary navigation improved orientation and ease of use for navigating

Ways to reduce friction:

  • Push for ways to provide a path back to the HAP site
  • Push for ways to deep link to the plan detail page(pass a zip code and plan ID?)
  • Push for access to chat on the shop & compare site
  • You may want to test linking from individual plans to the shop & compare site


The client was continually impressed with our dedication to the user and presenting solutions that benefit them over the business. Over the course of this project, we saw an increase in respect coming from the client for user research and UX design practices.

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