The Obama administration challenged health care groups, web developers and other innovators Monday to design a medical bill that patients can actually read and understand, saying a patchwork of content and jargon is overwhelming Americans who just want to know what they owe and why.
Health care providers from six states have agreed to try out the winning designs, which will be announced in September.
Dubbed the “A Bill You Can Understand” challenge, the Health and Human Services Department said the contest is designed to streamline bills that often vary in presentation, making it difficult to tell which services are covered by insurance and what patients must pay on their own. Sometimes patients receive multiple bills from hospitals, doctors, labs and specialists for one round of care, adding to the confusion.
“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,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said.
HHS will accept submissions until Aug. 10 and award cash prizes of $5,000 in September to two winners — one innovator who designs the easiest-to-understand bill, and one who thinks up the best way to streamline the billing process, “focusing on what the patient sees and does throughout the process.”