Organizing your Medical Records

You are likely receiving A LOT of paperwork! It is important to keep your breast cancer medical records organized and in one place. We suggest you create a system for keeping your medical information organized, including medical records like test results and treatment plans, insurance communications, and any bills or financial statements you receive from your doctor or hospital. Good record keeping can be a major help if you run into any issues with health insurance coverage.

Use whatever system works for you. Some people like to keep paper copies of everything in a binder or accordion folder with separate tabs for treatment records and insurance records. Others prefer keeping their records on their computer, scanning paperwork as needed to create digital copies. You may wish to create a spreadsheet that lists the date of every appointment, test, treatment, prescription filled, etc.; the provider name and location; the amount you paid; the status of the insurance claim; and any additional amount for which you were billed. This allows you to quickly see the status of payments and coverage. If your hospital or doctor’s office offers a portal you can access to see your electronic health record, this can help tremendously! Your health insurer may offer a similar portal. However, you still may wish to print out your records so you can refer to them easily in one place.

Managing your records may be a perfect way to engage a caregiver or loved one. They likely want to be helpful but don’t know how. Ask them if they can be the person to organize your records so that you can focus on your healing!

The American Cancer Society recommends you keep copies of all of the following:

  • Medical bills from all health care providers
  • Receipts for any payments made
  • Claims filed, including the date of service, the doctor, and the date filed
  • Reimbursements (payments from insurance companies) received
  • Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) forms
  • Dates, names, and outcomes of calls, letters, or emails to insurers and others
  • Medical costs that were not reimbursed, those waiting for the insurance company, and other costs related to treatment
  • Meal and lodging expenses
  • Travel to and from appointments, treatments, or the hospital (including gas, mileage, and parking for a personal car; and taxi, bus, medical transportation, or ambulance)
  • Admissions, clinic visits, lab work, diagnostic tests, procedures, and treatments
  • Medications given and prescriptions filled

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