Friday, September 27, 2013

Explaining the Open Enrollment Process: Step 1

There are lots of innovative and not so innovative ways that many of us are trying to explain the steps involved in open enrollment (starting just a few days from now).  
Complicated language with complicated visuals; 
Complicated language with simpler visuals; 
Simplified language with schematic visuals: 
You get the idea.  
We're all burrowing, more or less, in the same holes, trying, trying…. 

I first started looking at how consumers with low literacy, or low financial literacy approached choosing a Medicaid Health Plan in the early ‘90s. 

What did I learned then that I'm using now? 
I learned a lesson that Steve Jobs knew better and stated far more simply and elegantly:  

“When our tools don’t work, we tend to blame ourselves. When our tools are broken we feel broken. And when somebody fixes one, we feel a tiny bit more whole” 

(My good friend, Penny Lane, Director for the Center for Health Literacy at MAXIMUS INC. reminded me of this Jobs statement in a speech she gave yesterday at the PlainTalk in Complex Times conference in DC).

When consumers had clearer ideas of how to prepare for decision-making, when they knew more about what they needed to make the decision about health plan choices, they were more confident, more focused, and more capable.

So, even if the health plan choice tools can't be fixed right away, how can we help prepare the consumer to deal with the enrollment process.

Here's's effort to consolidate to 4 simple consumer steps:  

Suggestion #1 in the countdown to open enrollment
(this is after people understand that what open enrollment is)

Have you developed or come across "readiness" information that you could share. 
I'd be happy to post/share ideas here.