Professional Residential and Business Organizing in Cleveland, Ohio since 2003

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Medical Paperwork: How to Prevent Drowning In It

At a recent talk we were giving, we were asked a question about how long to retain paperwork regarding medical appointments, bills, explanations of benefits(EOBs) and test results.  This is a common question, because many people would like to get rid of it right away because we can get so much of it we feel like we are drowning in it!  That evening's question had a unique twist to it, though.

The woman asked our advice because she had experienced a billing issue with a local hospital.  They had billed her for services over two years ago but came back to her recently and said they had forgotten to bill her for a few thousand dollars worth of services.  The hospital claimed there was no statute of limitations on how far back they could bill her.  We consulted our lawyer who said he had never heard of a hospital going back that far with patient billing.  Hospitals usually will write items off their books in that sort of situation and not hold the patient or insurance liable for their error in undercharging.  The woman had kept all of her old bills and proof she had paid them and was going to fight the hospital on the additional charges.

 In this case, she was glad she had kept the paperwork but usually we recommend keeeping your paid medical bills and EOBs for the current year or until they are all paid.  Many customers wish to keep the previous year as well, and that is fine if you have the room to store them.  If your medical bills are used as a deduction on your taxes, you should keep them with your tax filings for at leat three years.

While there is not one clear cut anwer on what paperwork to keep forever, we generally recommend saving test results, details on surgeries, and other medical information on medications you take, immunizations, etc.  This information can be kept in a "Health" file versus the current year's medical bills.  Keeping a historical list of the doctors you have visited, dates of the visits and what you saw them for is also a good idea.  While we think we will remember, writing it down is the best way to find the information when you need it.  This file can be a resource for you and family memebers in the case of an emergency.

We hope this helps everyone in attacking their mounds of medical papers but give us a call if you need any help with it or your goal to become better organized!

                                      Happy Spring!

                                      Muffy and JoEllen

Hoarding: Legal Issues

As many of you are aware, we volunteer our time with Hoarding Connection of Cuyahoga County. The 4th Annual Conference, Hoarding: Legal Issues is in 2 weeks. If you have an interest in this issue please consider attending. CEUs are available for building /property maintenance inspectors (ICC), social workers, and registered sanitarians (RS).  

If you feel that this is a problem in your community, please invite representatives from your city government to attend. We thank you for sharing. 


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