identifying the problem
During onboarding, we ask users what for their yearlyincome in order to figure out their subsidy. However, most users were skipping this question and were seeing full priced plans. We're talking about users missing out on an average of $100/month of discounts. We kicked off some research to understand users' mental models on income, and why so many were choosing to skip this step.
Our research pointed us to three consistent themes:
1) Most users they assumed they made too much money
Majority of users assumed that subsidies were "like Medicare", and that they were only available for lower-income individuals. They thought they made too much money, so never bothered checking if they were eligible. This finding was also backed by scientific evidence that suggested that most Americans think they're middle class, regardless of whether they made 20K or 200K.
2) Users didn't understand link between income and health insurance
Users didn't really understand how income affected the price of their health insurance. We heard a lot of "Urgh why are you asking me this". Also this was onboarding. No one wanted to spend time answering extra questions! They just wanted to look at health insurance plans.
3) It's hard for freelancers to estimate their income
Freelancers and gig workers don't get a steady paycheck at the end of the month. Their income is highly volatile, seasonal and comes from multiple sources that changes throughout the year. So it becomes difficult for them to predict how much money they will be making for the year.