Tuesday, September 20, 2005

web: awful experiences with health insurance forms

I went to Kaiser, Blue Cross CA and Blue Shield CA to get quotes.

Clicking "Apply Now" and "Get an Instant Quote" both give
  A system error has occurred. If you want to resume this application, please click the Home button below and then sign on as a returning visitor.

Blue Cross:
This has a Plan Selection Wizard questionnaire asking me about what features I prefer. Good idea, but it asks me to choose between things like "$500 max generic" and "35% coverage" for Prescription benefit. Huh? When I click the help icon the pop-up help explains what a "Prescription benefit" is, but not these health insurance terms. So I indicated slight preferences at random, and then got a list of 40 different plans with arcane names. When I clicked the "Help with this" button I got another form to fill out that ended with "Thank you for your submission. You will be contacted soon."

Also, all the pages are at a site named https://express.rwsol.com. I went to Blue Cross. It doesn't make me feel confident when they farm out my secure details to another site I've never heard of. Use a proxy guys!

Blue Shield:
When I get to "Enter Your Information" in Create New Quote and click the Next button, nothing happens. Firefox's Tools > JavaScript Console shows the page is doing
  var oForm = document.forms('frmMain');
but it should be using square brackets, not making a function call! Their fast and friendly phone support said "Yes, it doesn't work with Safari Netscape, it's a known problem." I left the JavaScript Console open for the rest of my session and got literally hundreds of errors and warnings from their site.

In a multi-step form like this the browser history is crucial. The title must change with each step of the process so you can return to the right step. Kaiser's says "ATLAS - Apply Online" at every step. Blue Cross's says "Blue Cross of California" at every step.

These companies all seized the opportunity to save a ton of money signing up new members by moving the process online, and so far they all dropped the ball.


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