We are on a mission to conquer all of our household paperwork in 10 weeks! But we are not doing this alone; it’s a party! Follow along with us and link up your own progress as we tackle a different type of paper each week.
To help guide us along the way we will be following the chapters in the eBook 10 Steps to Organized Paper by Lisa Woodruff. Be sure you enter our giveaway to win one of two copies of the ebook!
This week we are focusing on Medical Paper. Lisa Woodruff shares her unique insight as a mom of children with special needs (a warrior mama as she calls it) and as a daughter caring for an aging parent. She has dealt with every medical paper imaginable and gives us concrete steps to get those important records organized.
In 10 Steps to Organized Paper, Lisa shares how she creates a specific medical record binder for her child with special needs. This is a fabulous way to have all the paperwork at your fingertips when you are out on appointments and meetings.
I am grateful my dealings with insurance companies have been minimal, but even with my limited experience, I know the importance of keeping your medical paperwork organized and within reach.
I have also worked with clients who are swimming in medical bills and records. Talk about overwhelming! If this area seems insurmountable and you tend to avoid it altogether, it might be time to call in a professional. With someone to help you make sense of all the papers you can move forward.
Here is how I organize what little medical paperwork I do have. If you don’t already have your paperwork in one spot start by-
Collect and Sort
Hunt down all the medical paperwork throughout your home. Think of any of the places you would have stashed it.
Once you have all your medical paperwork in one spot it is time to sort. Grab a piece of paper to capture tasks that come up as your sort. Instead of become side-tracked when sorting, save your unfinished tasks to complete at the end.
Clear off a big table and start making piles of ‘like with like’;
- past due bills
- paid bills and payment receipts
- insurance information
- diagnoses letters, etc.
- To do pile
Once you sort, the file categories you need become clearer. My paperwork is sorted mainly how I need to reference it for taxes.
- Insurance Payments
- HSA (Health Saving Account)
- Medical Records (divide by individual)
- Insurance Records/information
- Dental Insurance
This is not an exhaustive list. You may have more or less categories depending on your needs.
Insurance Payments- Since we pay out of pocket for our insurance, we keep our monthly insurance payments for tax purposes. At the end of the year, these are put in order and stored in our tax file in case we ever need them.
HSA- This is the file that gets most of the action! All medical receipts, HSA bank statements, and paid medical claims are filed in here. (All unpaid medical claims are filled in my “To Pay” action file.)
At the end of the year, everything is collected and bound together by year with receipts on top (I only have about 3 claims a year). I quickly label and keep it ready to be used when preparing our taxes.
As you can see, there is nothing fancy around here. I don’t want to spend my whole day filing (I’m sure you don’t either). Give yourself permission to make things just organized enough! Don’t let yourself get derailed by needing to make your file labels perfect.
Medical Records- Depending on your situation, you might have a file folder for each member of the family. In our case, my oldest and myself are the only one with medical records (my husband doesn’t even have a file). Since the file folders are so thin, I use manila folders.
You could also keep immunization records in here, though I keep ours in our important documents file. If I ever need to grab all the important documents at once I could.
Insurance Records/Information- Here is where I keep all the info our insurance company sends regarding our coverage. This file can become pretty bulky so be sure to shred/trash outdated info when your coverage changes. Any important communication from the insurance company goes in here too. Take a second when insurance info arrives in the mail to process these documents as you do your other mail, “Will I have need to refer to this again?” Most info sent out does not need to be kept.
Dental Insurance- General info and dentist’s name, that is about it in here. Gotta love small and simple!
Tie Up Any Loose Ends
If you are like most, there are bound to be a few unfinished tasks to follow through on; calls to make, bills to pay, or receipts to reconcile. Once your files are made, time to tackle those loose ends.
Depending on the size of your to-do list, you can save this step for tomorrow or break it up into a few tasks a day to make it more manageable. As each task is completed, the corresponding paperwork can now go right into its permanent home!
The inside cover of the file folder makes a great spot for notes. If you have instructions you tend to forget, write a little note. Or to record correspondence, tape a piece a paper to the inside of the folder That way if you have to come back to a task, you have a reminder of what was spoken of previously. I had to do this with our mortgage company when trying to resolve an issue. I could refer to my call log and quickly site who I spoke to, on what date, and what we discussed.
Once your medical papers are in order very little maintenance is needed. Stay tuned to the coming weeks as we turn attention from our reference files to everyday “actionable’” paper.
What papers have you been organizing? Link up your own paper projects below!
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