You have stacks of medical reports, bills, insurance statements, claim forms, and payment records piling up and causing you stress. Piles of disorganized paper (and electronic records) can surely intimidate any patient.
If you ignore the paper, you might not take necessary medical actions or you could fail to maximize your insurance benefits. If you want to minimize personal overpayment, optimize your benefits and ensure accuracy in treatments, you must organize these important documents into a user-friendly system.
Our unique “My Patient Navigator™ Insurance Tracker” online tool is available to you as a member. Or, you may also choose to have your personal navigator take care of this time-consuming and stressful task for you. Ask your navigator about this option.
Are you organized by nature and the type of person who immediately opens and categorizes her mail? Or do you hope the paperwork will go away if you ignore it long enough? Are you somewhere in between?
You must answer this question honestly so that you can build a record-keeping system that works for you. It should be easy and intuitive to the way you manage paper. Some people prefer to organize by type of medical condition, others by medical provider, and still others prefer a chronological order. You can use a three-ring binder, file folders or put your records into your computer. The key is that you will USE the system you create.
All these are valid, provided the method chosen is used consistently. Also, if the records are particularly complex, it is helpful to list the different items in a computerized spreadsheet, which helps track items as they are reviewed. Color coding records for different patients and/or different providers is also helpful.
If you have a friend or family member to help you manage your medical financial paperwork, let them! This is an overwhelming and stressful part of your journey through illness. If you can delegate this task to someone you trust, you will benefit. Patient Navigator, LLC offers an individualized medical financial records management service. Ask your navigator for more information.
The next thing to do is to determine the extent of the problem and then break it down into manageable steps.
If yes, these are the ones that need to be organized first, in order to account for all aspects of care for the urgent medical condition.
If no, then proceed with all data by relative importance.
Please review our “Find Financial and Practical Assistance” roadmap for more information on how to pay for medical expenses.
Be aware that many insurance companies have strict deadlines, depending on the date of service, for when new claims can be submitted or appealed. Don’t miss the window. Read your insurance policy carefully.
Remember that at the end of the process, the services rendered, billing, invoice, co-pays, deductibles, insurance payments numbers should match up and make sense. You MUST scrutinize each doctor bill, insurance benefits form, and hospital bill for accuracy.
If you do not understand a particular charge, call the billing office of the provider. Sometimes insurance claims are denied simply because the doctor’s office submitted the WRONG diagnostic or billing code.
If an insurance claim is denied, don’t just give up. Find out why! Our “What to Do with a Denied Claim” roadmap will show you the way. Call the insurance company and ask them the specific reason why and then follow-up.
You can also ask your navigator for help with insurance problems. It is a service available to members of the My Patient Navigator network.
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