Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Plan Choice Challenge

Submission Deadline

Submissions are Closed


Alicia Davis


  • Finalists (5): $5,000 each
  • First Place $50,000
  • Second Place $15,000
  • Third Place $10,000
First Place

Consumers' CHECKBOOK/ Center for the Study of Services

Consumers' CHECKBOOK/ Center for the Study of Services logo

Team Members

Robert Krughoff

It's hard for consumers to choose best plans for themselves. Many choose based on shortcuts like premium alone, deductible, or metal level and waste $1,000s compared to the cost of a plan that, with better information, they'd prefer.

Mistakes might result from being unable to find info on specific plan features, like availability of preferred doctors or hospitals. But most difficult are cost comparisons. Most consumers can’t figure out: is a plan with a $200 deductible and a $12,000 out-of-pocket limit better for me than one with a $2,000 deductible and a $4,000 out-of-pocket limit—and how about differences in co-pays, coinsurance, etc.?
Many consumers find insurance terms and math confusing and don’t know what various services cost or the probabilities of needing such services.

Our tool lets users quickly see for each plan—

  • Meaningful cost comparison - A single-dollar-amount actuarial estimate of average total yearly cost (premium plus out-of-pocket) for someone like the user (same family size, age, health status, planned high-cost procedures, etc.).
  • Risk—cost in a very high health-care-usage year and the chances of having such a year.
  • Whether the user’s preferred doctors are in each plan.
  • Quality of care and service indicators for each plan.
  • Videos, audios, and other help.

The tool can be used in or alongside Exchanges. We don’t accept advertising fees or commissions, so need government or foundation support or a flat per user fee from entities offering the tool. Learn more at

Second Place

Stride Health

Stride Health  logo

Team Members

Noah Lang, Matt Butner, Aly Keller

Stride Health is the world’s first health insurance recommendation engine, matching individuals with the perfect plan for their lives. Stride’s patent-pending recommendation algorithm delivers plans to consumers by providing the first "apples-to-apples comparison" of total annual costs: premiums *plus* expected out of pocket spend. An individual can enter as much, or as little, information as she wants about her personal health profile to refine the forecast and plan recommendation. We’ve built a rich suite of data sets to help people keep their doctors, price their drugs and plan for care — all before they buy insurance. To make this possible, Stride's team also rebuilt and cleaned core health plan data — everything from benefits models to formularies and doctor networks — in order to evaluate every available plan on the market. Learn more at

Third Place

Clear Health Analytics

Clear Health Analytics logo

Team Members

Jennifer Sclar, Kathryn Wollan, Kelly Northridge, Len Kunin

The Clear Health Analytics (CHA) tool asks users for a few targeted inputs, including demographic information, plan preferences for in-network doctors and prescriptions, and known health conditions. Using a nationally representative sample of data, CHA’s patent-pending process models cost and utilization for dozens of illnesses and conditions against the provisions of available plans to give consumers a customized estimate of their annual out-of-pocket medical expenses. Available tax subsidies and CSR are calculated where applicable. Users are presented with three comparative costs: premium, ClearCost estimate, and worst-case scenario. Providing total cost information, combined with information on preferred doctors and prescriptions allows users to select the plan that best suits their needs. Learn more at

Recent Updates

Congratulations to the winners of this challenge, Consumers' Checkbook, Stride Health & Clear Health Analytics.
Read more about how these solutions are influencing consumers' choice and plan decision support here.


This challenge seeks solutions that use data to develop an app that will help consumers compare health plan cost sharing features and choose the best plan. Submissions require a text description of the solution, a PowerPoint presentation and wireframes of the application.

The market for health insurance is becoming increasingly oriented toward direct-to-consumer sales. A major impetus for this was the establishment of the Health Insurance Marketplaces as part of the Affordable Care Act. However, employers are increasingly establishing private exchanges for their workers, and the establishment of SHOP may provide another exchange opportunity for small employers. The exchange context offers more choices for consumers, and there is considerable variation in benefit design and cost-sharing features of different products. Benefit design is changing in ways that tend to increase consumer cost-sharing and associate the premium amount with the scope of the provider network.

Given these trends, there is more attention being focused on the types of tools that are available to consumers to choose health insurance plans. There are a number of plan choice tools that have been created by state and federal government, insurance brokers, private exchange managers, and other entities. While many of these tools have positive attributes, there is widespread recognition that consumer choice is not being sufficiently supported.

Variation in cost-sharing features of plans in the Health Insurance Marketplaces is considerable. For example, in a given rating area, consumers may have a choice of 25 or more plans at a given metal level. Many times these plans will appear to be very similar, but often can differ in ways that may have significant financial implications for consumers, depending on their particular use of health services. Many plan choice tools currently focus primarily on premiums, therefore ignoring other cost-sharing features that could be highly significant.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is striving to spur new innovations in health technology that helps consumers make better health care decisions, including selecting health plans, understanding cost-sharing information, and choosing the best provider based on quality ratings and patient experience.

The RWJF Plan Choice Challenge offers an opportunity for developers and designers to use the data to create applications that can help consumers make a more informed decision when purchasing health insurance. RWJF’s strategic goals for the challenge are to bring attention to the dataset, illustrate the variation in consumer choice, push toward greater direct consumer purchasing of health plans, and finally, help consumers make the best financial decision when purchasing a health plan.

For the RWJF Plan Choice Challenge, entrants will focus on designing plan choice tools that effectively and fully represent cost-sharing features, allowing for better consumer decision-making. This challenge will make use of a unique data set which has been provided by Breakaway Policy Strategies. This data set consists of cost-sharing features of every silver plan for sale in every network. The data set is available in machine-readable format on the Reform by the Numbers Page of the RWJF website.


  • Launch: June 15,2014
  • Phase I Submission Deadline: August 18, 2014
  • Phase I Finalist Announcement: September 21-24, 2014 at Health 2.0 Conference
  • Phase II Submission Deadline: January 12, 2015
  • Phase II Winner Announcement: February 2015

Review Panel

Evaluation Criteria

The Challenge requires an app that informs consumers to make better decisions for choosing a health plan. Evaluation criteria for judging will include:

  • Effective integration of the Health Insurance Exchange (HIX) Compare dataset
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Design, usability and intuitiveness of application
  • Potential to help consumers make informed decisions on purchasing health insurance
  • Potential and realistic plans for adoption in the community

Submission Requirements

The challenge will take place in two phases. Phase I will require teams to submit concepts and wireframes, while phase II will require working prototypes. The submission requirements for each phase can include (but not limited to):

Phase I:

  • A text description of the app or tool (no more than 1500 characters) including what data were used, how they were used, need, solution and business plan for dissemination and use
  • Wireframes or similar design layout of the application
  • Slide deck of no more than 10 slides describing the app and operating plan (in PDF format)

Phase II:

  • All of the above
  • A video pitch (no more than 5 minutes) describing the app/tool and how it would be used by the public to make better health plan purchasing decisions
  • Link to working application

Media Collateral

Terms & Conditions


The following are the Official Rules (the “Rules” ) governing the RWJF Plan Choice Challenge (the “Challenge” ) sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (the “Sponsor” ).




1. ADMINISTRATOR: The administrator of the Challenge is Health 2.0, LLC, 350 Townsend Street, #403, San Francisco, CA 94107 (the “Administrator” ).

2. ELIGIBILITY: The Challenge is open only to (a) business and nonprofit entities formed and maintaining a principal place of business in the United States and (b) individuals and teams of no more than five individuals, who are (i) citizens or permanent residents of the United States and (ii) of the legal age of majority, at the time of entry, to form valid contracts in their respective jurisdiction of legal residence (each individual, each team, each individual member of a team, and each entity is referred to as an “Entrant” in these Rules). Affiliated Persons (as defined below) are ineligible to participate in the Challenge.

Special note to Entrants who are entering as part of a team: If an Entrant enters as part of a team, the Entrant understands and agrees that submission of an Entry constitutes a representation and warranty by Entrant that all of the members of the team have read and accepted the Rules. Furthermore, an Entrant that is part of a team understands and agrees that if his/her team is selected to receive a Prize (as defined below), the team is responsible for ensuring the funds are appropriately distributed to each member of the team and each member of the team must agree upon the method of payment. In addition, once a team has registered, the team may not add, remove, or substitute members or otherwise change the composition of the team for the duration of the Challenge. Finally, the eligibility of the Entrant is tied to the team's eligibility; if one member of the team does not comply with these Rules or is disqualified, the team as a whole will be disqualified.

Special note to Entrants who are entering as an entity: If an Entrant is entering as part of an entity, the Entrant warrants that the appropriate officers, executives, managers, or other persons who have the authority to approve Entrant’s Entry into this Challenge have approved the Entrant’s Entry and the Entrant understands that these terms will be binding on both the Entrant and his/her entity. Furthermore, the Entrant understands that if the Entrant enters without obtaining the appropriate approval, the Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, disqualify the Entrant’s Entry. Finally, if an entity is selected to receive a Prize, an officer or person entitled to bind the entity will be required to validate that the Entrant is entitled to receive the Prize on the behalf of the entity and the officer or person entitled to bind the entity must provide the appropriate information for payment of the Prize.

Entrants who are determined at any time to have violated the eligibility criteria will be disqualified from the Challenge.

As used herein, the term “Affiliated Persons” means (a) the trustees, directors, officers, shareholders, members, employees, clients (with respect to the Administrator only), contractors, agents, representatives and affiliates of the Sponsor, the Administrator and any entity associated with the funding, administration, or processing of the Challenge and (b) the members of the Immediate Family (as defined below) of any of the persons identified in the foregoing clause (a). The term “Immediate Family” includes a person’s spouse/domestic partner and the parents, siblings, children and grandchildren of the person and his or her spouse/domestic partner.

3. CHALLENGE DESCRIPTION: The Challenge seeks to develop applications (in accordance with the technical specifications posted on the Challenge Website (as defined below)) that helps that helps consumers make better health care decisions, including selecting health plans, understanding cost-sharing information, and choosing the best provider based on quality ratings and patient experience using the data published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Challenge will be conducted in two phases: During Phase 1, five winning Entrants will be selected as semi-finalists from the entries submitted during the Entry Period (as defined below) (each, a “Semi-Finalist” ). During Phase 2, which is currently expected to run from the end of the Entry Period through January 12, 2015, three winning entries will be chosen from among the Semi-Finalists; Phase 2 will be open only to the Semi-Finalists selected from Phase 1.
Entry into the Challenge does not constitute entry into any other challenge or promotion that may be offered by the Sponsor or the Administrator.

4. PRIZES: The following prizes are available to be awarded in this Challenge (each, a “Prize” ):

  • Each of the Semi-Finalists chosen during Phase 1 will receive a prize of $5,000.
  • The first place winner chosen during Phase 2 will receive a prize of $50,000.
  • The second place winner chosen during Phase 2 will receive a prize of $15,000.
  • The third place winner chosen during Phase 2 will receive a prize of $10,000.

In addition, it is anticipated that the first place winner chosen during Phase 2 will be given an opportunity to attend (at the Sponsor’s expense) and present at the Health 2.0 Fall 2014 conference.

It is anticipated that Prizes will be distributed within ninety days of the announcement of the winners.

Winners may be required to execute an Affidavit of Eligibility, a Liability Release, and a Publicity Release (collectively, the “Prize Claim Documents” ) as a condition to receiving a Prize. If a winner fails or refuses to sign and return all Prize Claim Documents within five days of the Sponsor’s and/or the Administrator’s request (or a shorter time as exigencies may require), the winner may be disqualified and an alternate winner may be selected. No more than the advertised number of prizes will be awarded. Prizes will be delivered only to an address in the United States. THE WINNER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR REPORTING AND PAYING ANY INCOME TAXES OR OTHER TAXES THAT MAY APPLY TO ACCEPTING A PRIZE; THE SPONSOR AND THE ADMINISTRATOR ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR AND WILL NOT PAY ANY SUCH TAXES.

5. HOW TO ENTER: The entry period for the Challenge will begin at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on June 15, 2014 and ends at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on August 18, 2014 (the “Entry Period” ).

Eligible individuals and entities interested in entering the Challenge may submit an Entry during the Entry Period through the Challenge website located at (the “Challenge Website” ). The Sponsor and the Administrator reserve the right, in addition to those other rights reserved herein, to modify any dates or deadlines set forth in these Rules or otherwise governing the Challenge.

As described on the Challenge Website, entries must include: (a) a completed online application, (b) wireframes of the proposed application (Phase 1), (c) no more than 10 slides displaying the proposed application and operating plan, in PDF format (Phase 1), (d) a video pitch of no more than 5 minutes describing the working app or tool and how it would be used by the public to make better health plan purchasing decisions (Phase 2), (e) a link to the working solution/app (Phase 2). No substitutions or new versions of Entries will be accepted under any circumstances once the original Entry is submitted for consideration.

Entries must be received during the Entry Period. The Sponsor is not responsible for entries that are late, lost, stolen, misdirected or non-deliverable due to any reason whatsoever, including, and without limitation, online communication malfunction or failure, computer or computer program malfunction or failure or human error that may occur in the processing of entries to this Challenge. In the event of a dispute about the identity of any Entrant, an online registration will be declared as if made by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at time of entry.

Unlawful, plagiarized, third-party intellectual property infringing, unintelligible, illegible, obscene, indecent or incomplete entries will be disqualified in the Sponsor's sole discretion. The Sponsor reserves the right to scrutinize all new Entries for these requirements at any time during or after the Challenge.

The Sponsor and the Administrator each reserves the right in their sole discretion to disqualify any Entrant who is found to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Challenge or the Challenge Website or other Challenge-related websites, to be acting in violation of these Rules, or to be acting in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with the intent to disrupt or undermine the legitimate operation of the Challenge, or to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any other person.

Except as otherwise stated in these Rules, personal information collected in connection with the Challenge will be used by Sponsor and the Administrator in accordance with Sponsor’s privacy policy, located here, and with any additional consent given by an entrant at the time of entry. Subject to Section 8 below, all Entries become the property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned.

6. REPRESENTATIONS AND WARRANTIES: By participating in the Challenge, each Entrant represents, warrants, and agrees that: (a) Entrant is the sole author, creator, and owner of the Entry; (b) the Entry is not the subject of any actual or threatened litigation or claim; (c) the Entry does not and will not violate or infringe upon the intellectual property rights, privacy rights, publicity rights, or other legal rights of any third party; (d) the Entry does not and will not contain any harmful computer code (sometimes referred to as "malware," "viruses" or "worms"); and (e) the Entry, and Entrant’s use of the Entry, does not and will not violate any applicable laws or regulations, including, without limitation, applicable export control laws and regulations of the United States and other jurisdictions. If the Entry includes any third party works (such as third party content or open source code), the Entrant must provide the Sponsor with all appropriate licenses and releases for such third party works. In the event the Entrant cannot provide all such required licenses and releases, the Sponsor reserves the right, in Sponsor's sole discretion, to disqualify the applicable Entry, or seek to secure the licenses and releases for the Sponsor’s benefit and allow the applicable Entry to remain in the Challenge.

7. INDEMNIFICATION: Each Entrant, by submitting an Entry, agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Sponsor, the Administrator, and each of their respective directors, trustees, officers, employees, agents, consultants, and successors and assigns, from and against all third party claims, actions, or proceedings of any kind and from any and all damages, liabilities, costs, and expenses relating to or arising from Entrant’s Entry or any breach or alleged breach of any of the representations, warranties, and covenants of Entrant hereunder.

8. LICENSE: EACH ENTRANT RETAINS FULL TITLE AND OWNERSHIP IN AND TO THEIR ENTRY. By participating in the Challenge, each Entrant hereby irrevocably grants to each of the Sponsor and the Administrator a non-exclusive, royalty free, sub-licensable, worldwide, license and right to use the Entry to the extent necessary to administer the Challenge, and to publicly perform and publicly display the Entry, including, without limitation, for advertising and promotional purposes relating to the Challenge. The Entrants selected as winners of the Visualization and Apps and Tools Challenges, as a condition to accepting their respective Prizes, hereby grant the Sponsor a non-exclusive, perpetual, royalty free, sub-licensable, worldwide, license and right to post on the Sponsor’s website (a) such Entrants’ Entries and/or any related supplemental entry materials (via web link, iframe, or other presentation modality) and/or (b) a web link to a third party website or app store at which the Entrant’s application can be downloaded or purchased. Each such Entrant also agrees that it will execute all such documents and take all such actions necessary to complete or evidence these license rights.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, each Entrant acknowledges that the Sponsor is a philanthropy that in the course of its normal charitable activities makes grants for projects across a wide range of disciplines and that the Sponsor may currently fund or may in the future make grants for projects that may be directly or indirectly related to Entries submitted for the Challenge. By submitting an Entry, each Entrant acknowledges and agrees that the Sponsor shall have no liability for making grants to projects that involve ideas, procedures, processes, systems, methods of operation, concepts, or principles that may also be present in an Entry.

9. PUBLICITY RELEASE: By participating in the Challenge, in addition to any other rights granted herein or which may be granted in any other agreement entered into between the Sponsor and/or the Administrator, on the one hand, and any Entrant, on the other hand, each Entrant, to the extent allowed by applicable law, hereby irrevocably (a) grants to each of the Sponsor and the Administrator the right to use such Entrant's name, likeness, image, and biographical information in any and all media for any purpose, including, without limitation, advertising and promotional purposes relating to the Challenge and (b) releases Sponsor and Administrator from any liability with respect thereto.

10. WINNER SELECTION/JUDGING CRITERIA: A panel of judges chosen by the Sponsor (collectively, the “Judges”) will select winning Entries from all eligible entries based on the following judging criteria:

  • Effective integration of the Health Insurance Exchange (HIX) Compare dataset
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Design, usability and intuitiveness of application
  • Potential to help consumers make informed decisions on purchasing health insurance
  • Potential and realistic plans for adoption in the community

The judging criteria are to be applied in the sole discretion of the Judges. By participating in the Challenge, each Entrant into the Challenge acknowledges and agrees to: (a) demonstrate the functionality of its application in a live format and/or allow the Judges, Sponsor, and/or Administrator to physically test the functionality of the application, in each instance if requested by the Judges, Sponsor, and or Administrator, and (b) be bound by and not challenge the final decision of the Judges.

11. NOTICE TO WINNERS: Attempts to notify potential winners will be made using the contact information provided on the winner's Official Entry Form. The Sponsor and the Administrator are not responsible for e-mail or other communication problems of any kind. If, despite reasonable efforts, a potential winner does not respond within five days of the first notification attempt (or a shorter time as exigencies may require), or if the Prize or prize notification is returned as unclaimed or undeliverable to such potential winner, such potential winner will forfeit the Prize and an alternate winner may be selected. If any potential prize winner is found to be ineligible, or the Entrant in question has not complied with these Rules or declines the applicable Prize for any reason prior to award, such potential prize winner will be disqualified and an alternate winner may be selected.

12. GENERAL LIABILITY RELEASE: Each Entrant agrees that the Sponsor and the Administrator (a) shall not be responsible or liable for any losses, damages, or injuries of any kind (including death) resulting from participation in the Challenge or any Challenge-related activity, or from entrants' acceptance, receipt, possession, use, or misuse of any Prize, and (b) have not made any warranty, representation, or guarantee, express or implied, in fact or in law, with respect to any Prize, including, without limitation, regarding such prize's merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. The Sponsor and the Administrator assume no responsibility for any damage to an Entrant's computer system which is occasioned by accessing the Challenge Website or other Challenge-related websites or participating in the Challenge, or for any computer system, phone line, hardware, software, or program malfunctions, or other errors, failures, delayed computer transmissions, or network connections that are human or technical in nature.

13. FORCE MAJEURE: In the event an insufficient number of eligible entries is received or the Sponsor and/or the Administrator is prevented from awarding a Prize or continuing with the Challenge as contemplated herein by any event beyond its control, including, without limitation, fire, flood, natural or man-made epidemic, earthquake, explosion, labor dispute or strike, act of God or public enemy, satellite or equipment failure, riot or civil disturbance, terrorist threat or activity, war (declared or undeclared) or any federal state or local government law, order, or regulation, public health crisis, order of any court or jurisdiction, or other cause not reasonably within the Sponsor’s and/or the Administrator’s control ( “Force Majeure” ), the Sponsor shall have the right to modify, suspend, or terminate the Challenge. If the Challenge is terminated for Force Majeure before expiration of the Challenge Period, the Administrator will (if reasonably possible) select a winner from all eligible, non-suspect entries received as of the date of the event giving rise to the termination.

14. MODIFICATION OF THE RULES: These Rules cannot be modified or amended in any way except in writing by Sponsor. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of these Rules shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision. In the event that any provision is determined to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable or illegal, these Rules shall otherwise remain in effect and shall be construed in accordance with their terms as if the invalid or illegal provision were not contained herein.


16. WINNERS LIST: The names of the winners will be posted at for such period of time as the Sponsor and Administrator deem reasonable.