After a trip to the hospital, reading a medical bill shouldn’t hurt your head. But for many Americans, understanding what’s owed, what insurers cover and whether bills are accurate and complete can be incredibly confusing. That’s why the Obama administration launched a U.S.-based contest with a cash prize for the winning design of a simpler medical bill, U.S. News reports.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rolled out the “A Bill You Can Understand” challenge last week, promising two cash rewards of $5,000 each, one for the designer who makes a more easily decipherable hospital bill and the other for the designer who improves the user experience during the medical billing process. Contestants have until August 10 to submit their ideas online.
The contest is being sponsored by AARP, a nonprofit advocacy group for people age 50 and older, and administered by New Hampshire–based design agency Mad*Pow. The challenge invites health care organizations, designers, developers, digital tech companies and other innovators to chime in.
One of the biggest issues designers will be asked to address is the confusion that arises when folks receive bills from multiple sources, such as hospitals, doctors, labs and specialists. Another is the inconsistencies in bill design, content, presentation and language, the use of complex medical jargon, confusing insurance negotiation instructions and frequent errors in hospital billings.
Contest organizers will feature the winning designs on the HHS website and at the Health 2.0 Annual Conference in September. In addition, six major health care systems have pledged to test or implement the winning solutions while serving more than 10 million patients this year.
For more information about how to apply for the contest, click here. And to learn how to better navigate health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, click here.