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Get Organized: Manage Your Medical Bills and Doctor Visits

hand writing check Staying organized is hard when you have an ongoing or serious health problem. Insurance claims, medical bills, appointments, and other details can be overwhelming. Here are some things you can do to make it easier.

Track Medical Expenses

Medical bills can be confusing. They may come from multiple doctors, visits, tests, and treatments. It is important to keep track of them. You may need them if you have a problem with your provider or insurance company.

To track medical expenses, keep a detailed record of:

  • Each medical appointment
  • All lab work, tests, and procedures
  • Any prescription drug you purchase
  • All medical bills

Check all bills carefully. Make sure they are accurate and complete. The information should match the records you have kept.

Make sure you pay the correct copayment at each health care visit. This includes all doctor visits, tests, and procedures.

File and Manage Insurance Claims

Get a copy of your policy from your health insurance. Make sure you fully understand your benefits. Ask questions. Tell your healthcare providers if your plan does not cover certain costs. Your provider may be able to help keep your expenses as low as possible.

Your doctor’s office may file your insurance claims. If you file your own claims, keep a detailed record of each claim. Keep this record on paper or in a computer spreadsheet. Be sure to include:

  • The appointment date and doctor's name
  • The amount owed
  • The amount paid
  • When the insurance claim was filed
  • The status of the claim
  • If you have received any money from the insurance company
  • Any other important notes

In certain situations you may want to get help. Examples are if you have a serious or ongoing health problem or cannot pay your bills. You can hire a health insurance claims assistant to help:

  • File and track your claims
  • Review your medical bills
  • Appeal rejected claims
  • Work out problems with providers and health insurance

Claims assistants often charge an hourly or yearly fee. The cost can vary.

Organize Doctor Visits

Your primary care doctor coordinates your care and keeps records. This is a good place to get a copy of your medical records. From there, create your own health journal. In your health journal, write down dates and information about:

  • Illnesses and injuries
  • Hospitalizations
  • Surgeries
  • Allergies
  • Your medicines
  • Your family's history of diseases or conditions

Also, keep a multi-year calendar. Use it to write down:

  • When and how often your doctor advises:
    • Check-ups
    • Screening tests
    • Future treatments
  • All your medical appointments
  • Reminders of upcoming appointments

If you have lots of information to track, you may want to use special software.

Getting organized make take some time. But once you have a good system set up, you will see results. It will save you time and money. And it will ease a lot of stress. This, in turn, will be good for your health.

RESOURCES:

Alliance of Claims Assistance Professionals
http://www.claims.org

Medicare
http://www.medicare.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Health Canada
https://www.canada.ca

Insurance Canada
http://www.insurance-canada.ca

REFERENCES:

Creating a health journal. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/creating-a-health-journal/ . Accessed October 14, 2021.

Personal financial management during a health crisis. South Dakota State University Extension website. Available at: https://extension.sdstate.edu/personal-financial-management-during-health-crisis. Accessed October 14, 2021.

Tracking your medical bills and health insurance claims. American Society of Clinical Oncology website. Available at: https://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/managing-your-care/tracking-your-medical-bills-and-health-insurance-claims. Accessed October 14, 2021.

Last reviewed October 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board   Last Updated: 10/14/2021