It can easily become overwhelming to keep track of the bills, letters, claim forms, and other papers that flow into a household. Keeping accurate records of medical bills, insurance claims, and payments will help families manage their money better and keep their stress levels lower.
Some families may already have a system for handling their finances and records and may only need to expand their system and create new files. Others may have to develop plans for handling the volume of paperwork. Record-keeping is also important for those who wish to take advantage of the deductions available in filing itemized tax returns. The Internal Revenue Service can give you information and free publications regarding tax exemptions for treatment expenses (see www.irs.gov) if they are related to medical care.
Keep records of the following:
- Medical bills from all health care providers
- Claims filed
- Reimbursements (payments from insurance companies) received and explanations of benefits (EOBs)
- Dates, names, and outcomes of contacts made with insurers and others
- Non-reimbursed or outstanding medical and related costs
- Meals and lodging expenses if they are related to medical expenses (see reason above)
- Travel (including gas and parking) if they are related to medical expenses (see reason above)
- Admissions, clinic visits, lab work, diagnostic tests, procedures, treatments
- Drugs given and prescriptions filled
Here are some helpful suggestions for record-keeping:
- Decide who will be the family record-keeper or how the task will be shared.
- Get the help of a relative or friend, if needed. This may be especially important for people who are single.
- Set up a file system in a file cabinet, drawer, box, or loose-leaf notebooks.
- Check all bills and explanations of benefits to be sure they are correct.
- Review bills soon after receiving them.
- Save and file all bills, payment receipts, and canceled checks (if copies of canceled checks are not possible, talk to your bank or credit union about how to get copies of canceled checks if needed.)
No statement contained herein shall constitute tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult legal or tax professional on any such matter.