The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced a new initiative, namely ‘A Bill You Can Understand’, in order to simplify the medical billing process and help patients understand what they are paying for. Partnering with several key players in the health industry, HHS expects that this challenge will improve the way a medical bill explains about the healthcare services provided to a patient, include what all services qualify for insurance coverage, and how much the patient has to pay in cost sharing.
According to HHS Secretary, Sylvia M. Burwell, “This challenge is part of HHS’ larger effort to put patients at the center of their own health care. With this 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.”
Secretary Burwell further said that the challenge is meant to encourage healthcare units, designers, and developers to come up with a medical bill that is uncomplicated and easy to understand, and which would improve the overall billing and payment process. He also said that the initiative welcomes new approaches to simplify the process, which has been criticized to be confusing and complicated to understand for a long time now.
The ‘A Bill You Can Understand’ program is sponsored by AARP and administered by Mad*Pow, a New Hampshire based design agency that wants to bring light to the how complex and mystifying medical billing affects patients. Participants can submit the medical billing model by August 10, and the winner will be announced in September. In addition, the winning models will be featured at the Health 2.0 Annual Fall Conference, and tested by 6 renowned health organizations in the country.
HHS representatives also said that the program will issues two awards; one for the best innovator for designing a bill that is easier to understand, and the second one for the best transformational approach to redesign the medical billing process. Submissions will be selected based on creativity, understandability, overall design, and how the medical billing model simplifies issues cited by patients, providers, and payers.
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