medical bills... how do you stay organized?

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patientspiders
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 733
   Posted 11/12/2008 8:04 PM (GMT -7)   
This may seem like a silly topic to some of you, but I'm 5 years into this stupid disease and I STILL don't have a reasonable "plan of attack" for staying on top of my medical bills. My most recent stack from my hospital adventure in August is 17 bills thick, and three are already in "collection".

How do you stay organized? I don't think my put-it-in-a-box-and-ignore-it-until-medicare-has-paid tactic is working.

Have any of you ever looked into consolidating your medical debt? I don't have a house to use as collateral, but maybe there is another way? I'd be willing to pay a small amount of interest just to keep from writing 27 different checks every month... it's so bewildering sometimes!

Any tips are appreciated.
27f, dx'd CD July '05 after 6 fistula/abscess surgeries
(miscarried at 13 weeks, now waiting to heal before trying again)
Stopped Humira August 22nd, 2008.
Went Gluten-Free, noticing some definite improvement.
Started LDN October 27th, and already LOVING IT.

"Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure."


FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 11/12/2008 8:11 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't have tips on consolodating or staying organized by I like Dave Ramsey's book the Total Money Makeover as a guide to getting out of debt.
27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.


LMills
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 11/12/2008 8:11 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm kind of putting them on the back burner right now too..I think I have about 50 different insurance claims in my folder with an equal number of bills telling how is left for me to pay. Not to mention the 4 or 5 bills I get each month, one already gone in collection(that happened after about a month...is this normal?).

Keeping everything in a personal medical file helps though. Also, just a regular notebook with each sum owed individually is a really great help so you can just as need be and mark off the ones you've paid.

It's a shame that we have so much difficult in taking care of stuff like this though. People who are sick shouldn't have to suffer even more because they have no choice to seek help and recovery.
20 years old, Diagnosed with moderate to severe Crohn's and Colitis in May of 2008.
Currently taking:
Prednisone(down to 10 mg), pentasa, bentyl as needed, prilosec, tandem plus, humira, and good probiotics
Surgery for ectopic pregnancy most likely the result of severe Crohn's inflammation in July of 2008.
http://weblog.xanga.com/harlequin_garret


malb
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 33
   Posted 11/12/2008 8:14 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi!
I'm just grateful to live in Canada where this isn't an issue. Except of course for paying for drugs... we don't have a national pharmacare program here yet. It saddens me to hear about people with chronic medical conditions who also have to worry about paying for treatment. I hope things work out for you!
Michael

ABXGuy
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 11/12/2008 8:30 PM (GMT -7)   
I keep all my insurance EOBs in a 3 ring binder. Once I receive the EOB from primary insurance I then make a photo copy of it and send it along with claim form to secondary insurance. Once I have both EOBs from the two insurance companies I staple them together and file them away.

At the same time I keep a spreadsheet on the computer with all my doctors, labs, hospitals, etc. I enter each visit, how much insurance has paid, personal payments, etc. and it provides the balance owed each provider.

It really helps me to keep things clear. I've tried to show my routine to my wife so she can keep it up to date if I am unable but it is a loosing battle. She thinks it is to much fuss, I guess I am just to organized.

AlwaysRosie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 8616
   Posted 11/12/2008 9:41 PM (GMT -7)   
I keep a little calendar in my purse. It is one month per page and it the little book is the size of a checkbook. I only use it for medical appointments. I show each doctor appt., physical therapy, blood work, etc. I also note when I start each med and the dosing.

I've got those calendars for several years now and it has been WAY helpful in piecing things together. Lots of the medical bills look bewildering and I keep thinking they are billing me for some extra visit I didn't go to. When I look in the calendar . . . sure enough, it's in there. ????? Brain Fog!!

Anyway, that is my main way to keep track of things. I am currently fighting with the Cleveland Clinic because they sent my bill to collections. THEY OWE ME MONEY!!! I somehow paid for an item that wasn't billed properly to my insurance and . . . blah blah blah . . . anyway I have to call and go thru the whole speal again tomorrow. I've spent hours trying to get this straightened out.

I feel really bad for everyone who is so ill that this is just too overwhelming to manage.

Blessings!

In His Grip

AlwaysRosie           "We can't control the waves, but we can learn how to surf!!"

Psalms 139

Co-Moderator - Lupus Forum

UCTD, Inflammatory Arthritis, Diverticulosis, (recent dx - Sjogrens, Crohn’s 4/08)

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LuckyStar01
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 54
   Posted 11/12/2008 11:39 PM (GMT -7)   
I put them in categories of Dr - Hospital - Anesthesia - Insurance statements - Co pays -
and then I do sometimes audit them myself and have found 100s of dollars that I don't have to pay.

I load them on my computer and pay them down little by little. They do make a lot of mistakes.


With regards to Canada - I am 3 hours from the border can I borrow some of your medical?
Diagnosed 2004 - Chrohns and UC - Currently on 30 MG Prednizone.
Multiple chronic illnesses (Fibromyalgia, Asthma, Tinitis, Allergic to medications and other things.


Joie1
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 376
   Posted 11/13/2008 11:01 AM (GMT -7)   
Ahhh...I'm also in collections. As I've said, my last surgery...occurred literally, two days after I'd moved from another state. I had owed $49,000.00 and that was "forgiven" because I couldn't find work for six months. Meanwhile, I have so many previous bills and three new ER visit bills. Honestly, at this point, I'm planning bankruptcy. I can't see another option since I only work 16 hours a week AND my husband also is only working 30+ hours (new job...but comes with insurance we hope). We're just saving up to meet with a bankruptcy lawyer which could take anywhere from five hundred to a thousand bucks.

I wish you luck on paying your bills.
27/f/CD. 4 CD related surgeries: 2 resections, 2 JP drains, 3 NG tubes, many absesses (including the one my most recent surgery scraped off my ovary) and fistulas.
Currently trying to figure out hip and knee joint pain.
Have lost in these surgeries: appendix, 8 in. intestine, R fallopian tube, gallbladder, 10 in. intestine
Dx'd: February 2007.
Pentasa (and much mental screaming)


FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 11/13/2008 2:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Please read the book I suggested before you file for bankruptcy. It just might help!
27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.


inflamed
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 1340
   Posted 11/13/2008 3:42 PM (GMT -7)   
I have an accordion file. In the front I put my EOBs (insurance explanations of benefits). When the bills come in, I match them with their EOBs and file according to source. My GI, primary care, prometheus, derm and dentist have their own files. I have one for the hospital services and then a catchall for the different odd bills that go along with hospital treatment. This way I can confirm that my billed amount matches the EOB and keep track. For a while I had a spreadsheet where I entered the amount I paid out of pocket. I was hoping for a tax deduction but never quite paid enough as a percentage of income to get it.

Alwaysrosie-- Good luck in your battle to get the money back. I had a previous insurance company that seemed to intentionally delay payment hoping that I would pay the bill they should have paid. If I didn't keep close track, I would have been stuck paying bills I didn't need to because the hospital wasn't going to submit it properly to insurance once I already paid.
Hoping to stay in remission after the birth of a healthy baby girl. On Pentasa during my pregnancy, but Ive gone rogue and med-free to nurse.


cdinhyd
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 101
   Posted 11/14/2008 4:43 AM (GMT -7)   
To ABXGuy:
"At the same time I keep a spreadsheet on the computer with all my doctors, labs, hospitals, etc. I enter each visit, how much insurance has paid, personal payments, etc. and it provides the balance owed each provider."

Can you post /email the spreadsheet without your medical information ? It will be mighty useful for us.
Male India 45 years Diagnosed CD in 1990 Fistula surgery 1988
Mesacol Iron Folic Acid B12 Omega Diagnosed MVP/MR in 2007 Dilitiazem Dothiepin


ABXGuy
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 11/15/2008 2:26 PM (GMT -7)   
cdinhyd said...
To ABXGuy:
"At the same time I keep a spreadsheet on the computer with all my doctors, labs, hospitals, etc. I enter each visit, how much insurance has paid, personal payments, etc. and it provides the balance owed each provider."

Can you post /email the spreadsheet without your medical information ? It will be mighty useful for us.

I can do that, I don't see a way to upload it here so I will post a link to it here.
 
I use MS Excel but it is a pretty simple spreadsheet so it should work in open Office too.
 
Stay tuned... yeah

Post Edited (ABXGuy) : 11/15/2008 4:03:30 PM (GMT-7)


ABXGuy
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 11/15/2008 5:10 PM (GMT -7)   
Here you go, if you have questions feel free to contact me.
 
 

Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 11/15/2008 5:41 PM (GMT -7)   
...Michael..
I too hail from Canada
Strathroy Ontario.........

If you are on a disability program as I am from the gov your meds cost 2 dollars a RX
Or there is Trillium Drug Program

I am always so grateful for our HC system..especially when
I see young college students (with this DD or other DD)
or some of our older members here
paying and paying and totally getting in debt because they are ill

SAD..........LYN
 DX: Crohns,Pyoderma Gangrenosum,Anxiety/Panic,
Fibro & Other DD

Donate at  www.healingwell.com
 
                               Moderator@Alzheimer's..
    CO Moderator @ Anxiety and Panic........Co Moderator   @ Crohns                    
                            ~ FIGHT the FIGHT with all YOU HAVE ~
               Look For The GOOD, Even At Your Lowest
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..........LYN

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