The U.S. government spent millions of dollars and thousands of hours creating the HealthCare.gov marketplace. Three 20-year-old developers built a site that does a lot of the same things in just three days with “several hundred dollars.” And the site built by the three young coders—Health Sherpa—is a lot easier to use.
At HealthSherpa, visitors simply input their zip code on the home page and are instantly taken to a list of available plans. On that page, they can refine the results by inputting the number and ages of the people they would like to cover, as well as the type of plan they want. Getting to a similar list on HealthCare.gov takes at least a half an hour of completing forms—if the site works at all.
Still, it may not be completely fair to compare the two sites, because Health Sherpa doesn’t actually allow people to purchase plans—just to shop for them. “It isn’t a fair apples-to-apples comparison,” admitted George Kalogeropoulos, one of the Health Sherpa developers. “Unlike Healthcare.gov, our site doesn’t connect to the IRS, DHS, and various state exchanges and authorities. Furthermore, we’re using the government’s data, so our site is only possible because of the hard work that the Healthcare.gov team has done.”