What Experience Design Looks Like at a Truly Member-Focused Company
If you look into health benefits companies across the country, you’ll find that most have some user experience designers on staff to act as the champion of the end user. At Gravie, our approach is significantly different.
In an industry with the third-worst customer satisfaction score, Gravie is a disruptor. We’re united as an organization around drastically improving our members’ experience with understanding and using their health benefits.
We sat down with Allyson Bone, director of experience design, to learn more about what’s inspiring her, and what makes Gravie’s user experience so different from other companies in the health insurance space.
Tell us about your background and your current role at Gravie.
I have a background in research and design, but Gravie was my first role in the health benefits field. I was specifically trying to avoid working in this industry due to my personal experiences and frustrations with getting care. I was drawn to Gravie’s mission statement and when I met the people here I knew it wasn’t just a gimmick. I get to spend every day researching, designing, and implementing ways to help real people access care. I have been at Gravie for five years, and my current role is as director of experience design.
What is different about Gravie’s Experience Design (XD) department?
At many other companies, the UX designers are trying to convince other parts of the organization to focus on the end user. At Gravie, the entire organization is advocating for member-first products, experiences, and solutions. In this type of environment, the invested efforts of the XD team do not get dismissed or lost in bureaucracy, but they turn into real actionable change.
What is your vision for the member experience?
My vision is for members to trust that Gravie is truly on their side and advocating for them in their health. People tend to see health insurance as something that prevents them from getting care, not something that helps them get care. At Gravie, it’s our goal to flip that narrative.
We approach this from several different angles. We want to educate and empower our members and treat them like real people. One of our mottos is “speak human, not insurance.” That only goes so far when you’re dealing with benefits that are extremely complicated. By simplifying our plan designs, like with Comfort™, we deliver more benefit to our users because they actually understand how it works.
What is Gravie doing to improve the member experience?
In this industry, there is so much that can be done it can be daunting to decide where to start. We know that the member holds the key to any question we have, so we’ve been focusing our efforts on deeply understanding our members’ journeys. The XD team has been exploring the details from start to finish; enrolling in benefits, finding care, interacting with a provider, and paying for any bills that may result (although with Comfort there are a lot fewer of those.) This is being done with a combination of qualitative and quantitative research, both with our members and the larger population.
Since Comfort launched in 2021, we have been tracking the utilization data and talking with our members about how it’s been going. It has been genuinely inspiring to see how many free services have been utilized, and to hear the stories about how removing the fear of “the unknown bill” from a visit has made meaningful change in people’s lives. I’ve heard from folks who decided, with the coverage offered by Comfort, to finally pursue preventive care, and from many who are accessing mental health benefits for the first time.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I would say our inspiration rarely comes from the healthcare industry. We are a group of curious, tech-savvy, empathetic folks who look to anywhere for inspiration to get our gears turning, from Apple to a conversation with the front desk clerk at a doctor’s office. Gravie employees have Gravie health insurance, so we are directly experiencing the product alongside our members. With all that firsthand experience, we hear ideas from everyone within the company as well.
What do you love about being a part of Gravie’s mission?
Gravie has a rich heritage of investing in their members, and that investment goes well beyond the XD department. As we continue to grow and improve the XD department, it’s simply proof that Gravie is an organization that puts its money where its mouth is. At the end of the day, it’s always about empowering the member to pursue their healthiest self.