U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Medicare Beneficiary Communications

How can Medicare better communicate with Americans about their health choices and Medicare usage?

Partners and Funders


U.S. Health & Human Service’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) invited PPL’s founders to provide the agency with strategic advice about user experience: specifically, how could the agency better communicate with beneficiaries, to help them select Medicare services and improve their health?

CMS subsequently engaged us to redesign the Medicare Summary Notice, the quarterly communication sent to nearly 40 million ‘Original’ Medicare beneficiaries across the country. The project team conducted more than 160 hours of user interviews in 15 towns, over five rounds of design research, testing new materials each round. Ultimately we developed a new health claims document that helps combat billing fraud, while also better engaging and informing Americans about their Medicare benefits.


Our final design for the Medicare Summary Notice incorporates a ‘dashboard’ with critical information in one spot, a checklist for free preventive care, features to fight fraud and claim errors, an easy appeals form, and other beneficiary-friendly features. (See all design features in the PDF below, courtesy of CMS.)

The new MSN won a 2012 ClearMark Award of Distinction from the Center for Plain Language and began rolling out to the public in mid-2013.

Project Team

David Gibson headshot
David Gibson
Chelsea Mauldin headshot
Chelsea Mauldin
Jen Rose headshot
Jennifer Rose