Organizing Medical and Insurance Paperwork

posted by Andrea | 09/14/2011

For the first 5 years of our marriage {and for most of our lives} Dave and I have been blessed with extremealy good health. We also have relatively good insurance that covers the cost of our yearly physical and our semiannual dental exams. So outside of a few insurance documents, we’ve hardly had any medical paperwork for our entire married life!

However, these last few months I’ve been going to the doctor every month {and now every two weeks} for regular pre-natal check-ups and we’re getting LOTS of medical paperwork for me and for our future baby.

We also have additional insurance and medical papers to keep track of for our two international students, and some of our insurance companies recently changed…which means MORE paperwork!

So I decided that our system for organizing medical and insurance paperwork needed an update.

My OLD System for Medical Paperwork

Previously, I only had one file folder labeled “Medical” {see it right there in the middle of the photo above} and I put all of our insurance and medical information in that one folder. It worked perfectly fine for us… until now.

As I mentioned before, we are receiving a lot more medical and insurance paperwork, and until our baby is born, we really do need to keep it all. And as you’ll read below — it’s a really good thing I had our records so organized and easily accessible!

 

Our NEW System for Medical Paperwork

With the influx of additional paperwork {and lots more to come once the baby arrives!} I set up a new system with a few more folders and a little more organization.

Here’s what I did:

I created one MAIN hanging file labeled “Insurance” with 4 manila folders inside:

  1. Dental Insurance
  2. Medical Insurance
  3. Life Insurance
  4. Sarah and Nancy’s Insurance {our international students}

I think the category names are pretty self-explanatory, but just in case — we will be keeping all our insurance information in separate folders for easier access {and becuase some of our insurance information recently changed so it’s just easier this way.

I also created a new file for our international student’s information {which we will hopefully never have to use!}

Then, I created another MAIN hanging file labeled “Medical” with 4 more manila folders inside:

  1. Andrea’s Records
  2. Baby Dekker’s Info
  3. Dave’s Records
  4. Sarah and Nancy’s Records

Again, I think the category names are self-explanatory, but I basically put ALL the medical records, bills, receipts, payment information, etc. for each person in the appropriate file. I keep dental and medical records together, even though they are through different insurance companies because that seems to work the best for us — and we don’t have THAT many records to keep track of.

 

Since “Insurance” and “Medical” fall very close to eachother in the alphabet {and we apparently don’t have any “J”, “K”, or “L” folders}, they end up right next to eachother in our filing cabinet which makes things even more convenient.

As you can see, my system is nothing elaborate – just simple folders, labels, and permanent markers… but it works for us!

 

How My Organized System Paid Off — Big Time!

Along with all the influx of medical paperwork, I was also receiving several bills for items our insurance wasn’t covering. However, our insurance policy states that anything consider “pre-natal” should be covered 100%.

So when I started getting the bills, I immediately called the doctors office and the insurance company to figure out what was going on.  Of course, in order to get anything resolved, I needed to fax over ALL my insurance information and every single piece of medical paperwork I’ve recieved over the past few months.

Since my system was so organized, it only took me about 15 minutes to round up everything they needed {in cronological order!} and fax it out. And within a week, I got a call from one of the nurses saying that all the payments would be reversed and if I had any more issues to contact her directly.

So I basically saved several hundreds of dollars in medical bill payments simply because I had all my paperwork, information, and records neat and organized — which is definitely worth it to me!

** Also, depending on how much you spend on medical bills during the course of a year, you may be able to get a nice tax deduction too — just one MORE reason to keep these important papers organized!!

You can read more about how I organize the rest of our paperwork here and here {there are pictures!} but I’d love to know…

How do you organized your paperwork? Do you have a special system for medical information?

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9 comments

  1. Megan Camp

    09/14/2011

    When my daughter was born, unfortunately, we were out of network (there was no in-network available in our area as we lived in a rural location). I had an emergency c-section and the hospital requires there be two attending doctors at the delivery of a c-section. My insurance was only going to pay for one doctor and was going to make me pay for the other doctor. Also, on the maternity ward, all of the rooms are private. My insurance was not going to cover $800 because I had a private room. I told them “I would have slept in the hallway if I needed to not pay $800 but I didn’t exactly have a choice.” They said if there were no other options, they would cover the private room. When they called, it didn’t get taken care of. I eventually had to do a 3-way phone call with the hospital and insurance company to confirm that “Yes, on the maternity ward, there are only private rooms.” In working through everything, I finally got the insurance to cover both the doctor (the doctor’s office had to submit the bill differently) and the private room, as well as multiple other charges. Due to being out of network, we still ended up paying about $10,000 for my daughter’s birth. It was very tough financially but by looking through every bill in detail I saved myself thousands of additional dollars.

    It sounds like you should be okay for the delivery if your insurance covers everything 100%. The one thing I didn’t anticipate is all the different types of bills I would receive. We received bills from the OB, hospital, anesthesiologist, the lab, and the pediatrician. Be ready to have to work through ALL of those bills when the baby comes.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for the tips Megan.
    Insurance issues are always so frustrating b/c often there isn’t anything you can do about them, and I personally feel like the paperwork is so hard to understand and make sense of. We will have to pay a deductible for the hospital stay and delivery {and we have money set aside for that already} , but other than that, I’m hoping that our insurance follows through with their 100% coverage policy!

    And yes, I’m already gearing up for lots more paperwork and bills after the baby comes!! Thankfully that is supposed to be covered 100% as well… but we’ll see. I have my organized folders just waiting :)

    [Reply]

  2. Amy

    09/14/2011

    We had a similar system until recently. My 2 1/2 year old son has many medical issues, and will continue to have them throughout his life. He has numerous specialists who all say they will fax paperwork to each other, but in reality seldom do. I had to create a medical notebook just for him that we carry to each appointment. I put all the summaries the doctors mail to us there, along with a medication chart, any lab work results and conversations with doctor’s offices. It has already saved me a couple of times when I have had the paperwork on hand at a doctor appointment.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow — sounds like you are SUPER organized… and for good reason.
    That is SO smart of you to keep all that information in once place. I have a friend with lots of medical issues too and she keeps everything electronically and takes her phone or ipad around with her to all the doctors offices. It has saved her lots of money and time to have that information with her.
    Thanks for sharing your system!

    [Reply]

  3. Amie

    09/16/2011

    I label an individual file for each person in our family of 5 (plus 2 dogs – they get their own files too!) and label it: 2011 Medical “Amie”, 2011 Medical “Scott”, etc. I always make sure to put the year first – it makes it easier when I transfer the files to long term storage!

    [Reply]

  4. Jen Zagorsky

    09/21/2011

    I love how you’ve done this – simple and easy to locate at a moments notice.

    Another good suggestion is to add alphabetical tabs to your filing. For people who have a lot of filing, the alphabetical tabs make things a bit easier to find. And you can save room in your filing cabinet by ripping the hanging folders in half and just using one side hanging folder to put your alphabetical tabs on. So, essentially, it just acts as a marker and not a folder so nothing could get put in in accidentally.

    [Reply]

  5. What's fall got to do with organizing? | Smart Living Blog

    09/22/2011

    [...] Here’s another happy thought: How organized are your medical records? If you ever had a dispute with your insurance company, would you be able to provide the mountain of paperwork required? Andrea Dekker says she recently found herself in just that situation, and she managed to save hundreds of dollars “simply because I had all my paperwork, information, and records neat and organized.” Her simple filing system looks like a smart time investment, considering the potential payoff. (Simple Organized Living) [...]

  6. De-Clutter The Crap Initiative – Post 1 | Mr.C & Me

    02/10/2012

    [...] For more organization tips in regard to “important papers”- Clean & Scentsible has a great post as does Simple Organized Living. [...]

  7. Jessie Johnson

    07/21/2014

    Whew.,..try keeping everything organized for 25 years with 3 kids, pets, and permanent jobs and a side self employment business, and knowing how long to keep paperwork. Geez, you are just getting started. ALL of you folders look thin to me. File folders, cabinets, long term storage for stuff you must keep which I kept in pocket folders and sealed 8x 12 envelopes for better organization. I see this was a few years ago. The files grow and grow!

    [Reply]