Paperwork! Doctor, Doctor!
We are building your filing system by dividing paperwork into broader categories. Last time we divided the Money category into Money In and Money Out. This time, we’re going to talk about Medical paperwork. You should already have your file box/crate and hanging folders full of documents to divide into subcategories.
· Banking & Investments
Our goal is still a filing system that allows you to find things and file things easily. Each of the major categories will have its own set of subcategories. Don’t file documents if you need to take action on them or if you’re waiting for more information. These items go in your Action Items folder or your Working & Waiting folder.
By now you’ve accumulated enough in a hanging file folder to merit greater division, even though you may still have lots of 6–8-inch stacks to sort through. Let’s start subdividing the Medical document category. This is where a paper sorter will come in handy.
You will need a folder for every person for whom you have medical documents. If you have pets this is a great place to store and track their veterinarian visits. Medical Insurance coverage documents (including those annual booklets) will be filed with Insurance, so if you come across those documents here, just drop them in the Insurance folder.
Medical paperwork will include Explanation of Benefit (EOB) documents, invoices, lab results, discharge papers, prescription information, and privacy/appeal statements. If a person or pet has very few documents (less than 20) just lump them all together. But if someone has a chronic condition, surgery, or an accident of some kind, you’ll want to be a little more precise with your filing.
Some handy subcategories for medical filing include Reports and Records, EOB/Invoices, and Prescriptions.
Prescription records sorted chronologically can help you determine monthly out of pocket costs, medical history, handy side effect reference material, and generic vs. brand naming protocols. At tax time, these can be archived with tax records. After three years, these supporting documents can be destroyed, so mark this folder “Destroy YEAR” – after you file 2020 taxes, you can destroy supporting documents for 2017. If you haven’t already done so, create a new folder for the current year.
Billing invoices and EOB documents can be stapled together and filed chronologically to ensure that all treatment dates have been processed by insurance. I file dental, chiropractic, vision care, and acupuncture treatment with medical billing even if they aren’t covered by insurance. These items can be archived with taxes, too.
Reports and Records are handy for maintaining a health history. Lab results, surgery results, biopsy reports, etc., can help when you or a family member needs to create a medical timeline. Be sure to pull out any documents you don’t need for maintaining this history (privacy and appeal statements, for example). For the time being, use a binder clip or jumbo paperclip to divide these documents by year.