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.
Those who deliver these programs feel undervalued and underequipped.
say they require better tools or less frustrating processes
say their office is understaffed
feel their work isn’t valued or appreciated
Better tools and data would have a positive impact on the work of delivering benefits.
say better tools and data would make their work significantly more enjoyable
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:
Systems and process barriers
No clear front door for applicants: Entering and navigating the benefits space is challenging for applicants.
Cryptic process: The application process is often not intuitive, transparent or easy to navigate.
Fragmented, siloed data: Documentation for benefit application and eligibility determination is hard to find (and trust).
Disparate systems: Managing multiple systems and channels reduces administrator effectiveness and efficiency.
Legacy of physical, manual processes and antiquated policies: Physical requirements are imposed on (what should be) a digital world.
Optimization is not core to operations: Process inefficiencies create additional burden for applicants and administrators.
Systems and process barriers
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.
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