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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and MATTER Issue Health Equity Challenge

Oct. 04, 2018

Call on Innovators to Help Close the Gap in Health Care Caused by Social Factors

(Chicago) - Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is issuing a nationwide Health Equity Innovation Challenge – seeking creative solutions to address the social determinants of health and help BCBSIL members overcome social, cultural and/or economic barriers to health care.

BCBSIL is teaming with MATTER to challenge researchers, entrepreneurs, innovators – and anyone with creative ideas – to develop new solutions for advancing health equity.

“We know that so many factors that contribute to one’s overall health are outside of clinical settings like a doctor’s office or a hospital. Social factors such as income, education, housing, discrimination, access to transportation and violence are keeping people from being their healthiest selves,” says Dr. Derek Robinson, chief medical officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. “We’re committed to making a difference in the social determinants of health and this challenge is our way of bringing in the innovators – the out-of-the box thinkers – who can help us make health equity a reality for our members and our communities.”

To fuel this challenge, $30,000 will be awarded - split amongst the top three submissions.

One of the winning teams will have the opportunity to pilot their solution with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois – giving contestants the opportunity to work closely with the insurer to develop their concept.

The three winning teams will also each receive six-month memberships at MATTER.

"There's a big opportunity for entrepreneurs to help reduce disparities in health and healthcare,” MATTER CEO Steven Collens said. “We're pleased to see BCBSIL take a leading role in advancing health equity and we look forward to seeing what creative ideas result from their collaboration with the healthcare innovation community."

The Health Equity Challenge is part of BCBSIL’s broader efforts to impact the issues that are keeping health care out of reach for many people. BCBSIL and Blues plans in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Montana have launched Affordability Cures , a $1.5 billion commitment over three years to accelerate new and existing efforts to find solutions with staying power to reduce health care costs.

“We’re looking for real-world solutions to problems that impact many of our members, whether they have insurance through their employer, a government program, or if they purchase insurance for themselves,” says Maurice Smith, president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. “We are committed to expanding access to quality health care to as many people in Illinois as possible.”

The ideas must be submitted by a three-minute video pitch at . The deadline for submission is November 12, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. CDT. Finalists will be announced on November 19, 2018. On December 3, the finalists will participate in a live pitch event at MATTER in Chicago and the winners will be announced.



MATTER, the premier healthcare incubator and innovation hub, includes 200 cutting-edge startups from around the world, working together with hospitals and health systems, universities and industry-leading companies to build the future of healthcare. Together, the MATTER community is accelerating innovation, advancing care and improving lives. For more information, visit and follow @MATTERhealth.