Government and Regulations

Contest Aims to Redesign Medical Bills

HHS challenges developers to clarify medical bills, offering a reward.


It’s a common complaint: “I can’t understand my medical bill!” Now, HHS is giving health care organizations, designers, developers, and others a chance to change that.

The “A Bill You Can Understand” challenge, sponsored by AARP, is intended to “help patients understand their medical bills and the financial aspect of health.” The concept was born of research that included responses from a survey of more than 300 patients and their families and one-on-one interviews with patients, families, and representatives from health systems, insurance companies, and integrated systems. In the patient survey 61% of patients rated their medical bills as “confusing” or “very confusing.”

The challenge is offering 2 awards of $5,000 each: one to the innovator who designs the easiest-to-understand bill and the other to the innovator who designs the best approach to improve the medical billing system—focusing on what the patient sees and does throughout the process.

The competition is open for submissions until August 10, 2016. Winners will be announced in September. Submissions to the challenge will be judged based on understandability, creativity, and how well they address the challenge criteria. For more information, visit

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