To bring Futureframe to life, the Accenture team chose to focus on an area that crosses many missions and agencies: federal benefits, assistance and insurance programs. Combining human-centered design with a futurist perspective, we took a closer look at today's experiences and began to explore how they could be reimagined for the future.

In fiscal year 2019, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and marketplace subsidies, along with federal benefits and additional safety net programs, represented approximately 64% of the federal government’s $4.4 trillion annual budget. Beyond the sheer size of these expenditures, each of these hundreds of programs has its own eligibility and participation requirements—many defined by Congress with little consideration for their impact on other federal programs.

In fiscal year 2019, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and marketplace subsidies, along with federal benefits and additional safety net programs, represented approximately 64% of the federal government’s $4.4 trillion annual budget.

Given the diverse stakeholders, fragmented delivery models and often conflicting policies, administering these programs encompasses significant complexity. These aren’t programs with ad hoc, quickly addressed transactional interactions, such as paying a parking ticket. These programs are defined by their often long-term and continuing relationships with the audiences they serve across many levels of government. These relationships may involve complex deliberations, ongoing compliance or performance monitoring, and active efforts to foster growth or improvements.

As part of the research for this Futureframe initiative, Accenture and Government Business Council surveyed federal leaders who manage federal insurance, benefits and assistance programs to explore their perceptions, attitudes and experiences.

When this process works well, administrators report measurable impact and pride in seeing positive outcomes change people’s lives. When it doesn’t work well, it can erode the interconnected web of public health, safety and quality of life, as well as the trust and confidence people place in government.

Workforce frustrations

Those who deliver these programs feel undervalued and underequipped.

53%

say they require better tools or less frustrating processes

41%

say their office is understaffed

40%

feel their work isn’t valued or appreciated

Automation opportunities

Better tools and data would have a positive impact on the work of delivering benefits.

35%

say better tools and data would make their work significantly more enjoyable

32%

say better tools and data would make their work moderately more enjoyable

Using Futureframe discovery methods and techniques, we also examined the broader ecosystem of federal benefits, assistance and insurance programs to identify the entities, relationships and constraints that could be subject to positive disruption and innovation. Most programs involve seven key phases: learn, qualify, apply, process, decide, deliver and appeal.

Barriers to better experience

Through Futureframe methods and techniques we identified six key barriers endemic in the current system. These barriers fall into three main categories – click the tabs below to explore each category:


Service design and systems design can orchestrate and optimize interactions across each step of the journey, delivering a more consistent, empowering experience and result for both individuals and administrators. Each phase of the journey has distinct challenges and constraints. Indeed, the overall process of applying for, delivering and managing benefits, assistance and insurance programs is complex and time consuming.

Next, learn how to apply Futureframe to create a North Star Vision for reimagining federal benefits delivery.

About the Authors

Elaine Beeman

Senior Managing Director – Accenture Federal Services, Civilian Lead


Tim Irvine

Managing Director, Lead – Accenture Federal Studio


Kathy Conrad

Director – Accenture Federal Services, Digital Government


Chris Zinner

Managing Director – Accenture Federal Services, Digital & Customer Experience


Vanessa Godshalk

Managing Director – Accenture Federal Services

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