Accessibility and Healthcare.gov

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This fall, the much awaited launch of the new Healthcare.gov site made headlines as its many glitches caused consumers frustration while trying to sign up for healthcare. Recent reports indicate that many of the site’s initial problems have been fixed, and people are now able to sign up. But we wondered, how accessible is the site for everyone? Can people with disabilities easily sign up for healthcare?

Deque Accessibility Experts Weigh in on Healthcare.gov

Although there have been many issues with the new Healthcare.gov website, there is something to be said for their accessibility efforts. Although certainly not perfect, it’s clear that a lot of work has been put into the accessibility of the main site. According to our Deque experts, the site developers have provided an excellent keyboard focus indicator, most of the modal dialogs are accessible, the eligibility notice PDF file is in a tagged format and includes alt attributes, and they do a good job explaining the different healthcare options in a user-friendly way.

Healthcare.gov Accessibility Policy Statement

What’s more, the site provides a good example of an Accessibility Policy Statement which lays out the regulations in which they strive to comply (Section 508) and the process for submitting accessibility and other technical or customer service issues. Accessibility Policy Statements reflect the commitment of an organization to providing accessible web content, provide guidance to internal and third-party developers and content contributors, and support website visitor feedback. Having an Accessibility Policy Statement indicates to your users that your organization is aware of accessibility and is a priority in your web development process. While your goal should always be to integrate accessibility into your development process from the very beginning, many users with disabilities understand that accessibility can be challenging. These users appreciate that you’ve taken the time to state your accessibility goals and feedback process, even if it’s still a work in progress. Not to mention that an Accessibility Policy Statement can help your organization avoid running into legal trouble with website accessibility, provided of course that your organization is following through on that statement.

If you’d like to learn more about Accessibility Policy Statements and how Deque can help you put one together – contact us!

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About 

Caitlin is an "Accessibility Decoder" at Deque Systems. She joined the team back in 2011 and has taken on a variety of roles over the years. These days she spends her time exploring the best ways to communicate accessibility ideas and solutions to the general public.

1 comment

  • Alan Smith Permalink

    http://www.healthcare.gov does not support iPads and especially with VoiceOver turned on. I’m surprised with the vast use of iPad by the disabilit community that this platform was completely left out of the supported platforms. In the private industry we are supporting iPads as the first non-desktop plaftorm.

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