Corporate Insight

The Cost of Treatment: Assessing Cost Estimate Tools with a UX Focus

Posted on November 23, 2017

Available from 10 firms within the Healthcare Monitor coverage group, cost estimate tools allow members to find the costs associated with treatments, procedures and office visits, among other items. We conducted a user test with eight insured respondents from around the country to gain a better understanding of the experience of first-time cost estimator users. The results of the user testing, as well as the designs offered by insurers lead to an unclear picture of the future of cost estimators. Though 10 firms offer these tools, the dual-purpose design featured by many insurers, integrating cost estimators and doctor locators, suggests that there is no need for a separate tool on member sites.

Overall, the tools offered by health plans differ in approaches to navigation and graphic design. Some tools fail from the start with poor findability. Many firms offer useful functions (e.g., maps and driving directions to medical institutions) and detailed cost breakdowns, but others overwhelm with too much information. It is clear from both user testing and an analysis of the tools provided that cost estimators lack consistency throughout the industry. All the firms in our coverage group could enhance their current tools to create a better user experience or create a better version by integrating these tools into existing doctor locator tools.

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