Project Overview +

Develop a prototype to adapt an existing physical game board for understanding and choosing benefits of a health care plan to an electronic version.

CHAT, in its original form, is a game-like exercise designed to help people pick health insurance benefits. CHAT presents the challenge of a full array of possible health care options, but limited resources. The goal of the exercise is to help people better understand health insurance and become more involved in designing group health insurance plans. Throughout the exercise, tradeoffs have to be made between competing needs for limited resources.

Aims +

n/a

Participants +

Various

Intervention +

Develop a prototype to adapt an existing physical game board for understanding and choosing benefits of a health care plan to an electronic version

Findings +

CHAT has been used in nine states across twelve distinct projects including approximately 300 exercises with more than 4200 people.

Each cycle of usability testing resulted in improvements and identified new issues. Improvements included inserting benefit level context in discussion comments, simplifying discussion threads, and adding a place for a customized group description. Findings across projects:

  • Group decisions are more community-minded than individual decisions and groups choose a slightly broader array of benefits than individuals.
  • CHAT increases understanding that benefits need to be limited to limit health care spending.
  • Participants give priority to services such as mental health care and rehabilitation in the final rounds because they are made more aware of the need for these services over the course of the exercise.

Conclusion +

The CHAT exercise has been used for a variety of research, educational, and policy purposes. The final, improved version of the Web-based version of CHAT is now ready for use by employers, researchers, insurance companies, community-based and health care organizations, and policy makers.

Interactive CHAT Prototype

07/15/2000 - 01/31/2001

Sponsor(s)

National Institutes of Health

Principal Investigator:

Susan D. Goold, MD, MHSA, MA