HHS announces competition to simplify medical bills

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new initiative to encourage healthcare organizations, developers, tech companies and other potential innovators to design medical bills that are simpler and easier for patients to understand.

HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced the “A Bill You Can Understand” contest at the Health Datapalooza conference on May 9. Sponsored by AARP, it will solicit new approaches to billing, which is a common problem for those using the healthcare system.

“This challenge is part of HHS’ larger effort to put patients at the center of their own health care,” Burwell said. “With today’s announcement, we are creating progress toward a medical bill that people can actually understand and a billing process that makes sense – progress that includes creating a forum that brings everyone to the table: patients, doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and innovators.”

The contest will issue one award for the design that is easiest to understand and another award for the design that offers the best transformational approach to improve the medical billing system.  Submissions will be judged based on understandability, creativity and how well they address the challenges outlined by patients, providers and payers, among other criteria explained on the challenge website.

The challenge will accept submissions until August 10. Winners, who will be announced in September, will receive $5,000 each.