Our government knows how to pay for things. But it doesn't often know how to do them correctly. That's why three young San Francisco coders were able to create a site in a very short period of time that solves many of Healthcare.gov's problems. The site, TheHealthSherpa.com, is what's known as a "front-end" for Obamacare.
A good front end design creates a simple and satisfying user experience (UX) by creating a intuitive user interface (UI). A good UI means you know how to use the site without instructions. A good UX means you come to the site, give it a minimal amount of your information, and get back a lot of what you need.
In the case of TheHealthSherpa, you type in your ZIP code and the plans available in your area, with their costs and benefits, come up along with contact information for the plans.
You can then go straight to the insurance company and enroll in the plan without ever seeing healthcare.gov. No waiting. And no need to sign up on that day. You can do your research.
You can even find out your tax subsidy if you want to give a little more information.
The San Francisco geeks did it as a public service. After all, to enroll people like them, you have to have a user experience they're used to. And Obamacare needs people like them to subsidize the sick people.
Of course TheHealthSherpa can't give your information to the plans, or connect into the government's vast databases. But that's for the people who are paid to do things like that to figure out.
As the user, you only want to know how to comply with the law and have some health insurance, right? And HealthSherpa can help you do that.And that's why I love Silicon Valley. At its best, it can change the world.