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Build A Bills Binder

Where there is cancer, a steady stream of bills will follow. "It's crucial to get out in front and keep bills from piling up," says Ivy Ahmed, Director of Patient Education at the Virginia-based prostate-cancer nonprofit ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer. "Without a system in place to stay organized, finances could spiral out of control."

Since you can anticipate a lot of expenses coming your way, it would be good to familiarize yourself with the variety of organizations that help to offer financial support for medical expenses, including:

In addition, keep in mind that your first bill is not always an indicator of what future bills for the same service or treatment will look like. Your federal or private insurance coverage can change based on various circumstances, so keep a close eye on your policy and the coverage it offers.

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the resources for financial assistance that are out there and where you’re covered by your insurance, you should organize yourself so you can easily process your bills and expenses. Build this medical bill binder to get – and stay – organized.

WHAT TO DO AT BILL SESSIONS

Go through each document in your To File box.

EXPLANATION OF BENEFITS (EOBs) GO IN ONE PILE
Insurance companies send an Explanation of Benefits (EOBs).
EOBs shows how much of the bill you need to pay.


TIP: EOBs may have “This Is Not a Bill” on them, often at the top right

BILLS GO IN ANOTHER PILE
Doctors, hospitals, service providers, labs, pharmacies, and emergency rooms may all send bills.
For each pile, circle the Date of Service, and put the most recent on top.

FOR EOBs:
Circle with a highlighter whether Paid, Pending, or Denied.
Circle with another highlighter, or write, if Action Needed.

MATCH EOBs TO BILLS
Go through the EOB pile and match the Date of Service with the bill that has the same Date of Service. Make sure Total Costs, Provider and Procedures also match.

Be Aware: One insurance statement may reference many medical bills. If possible, make copies of the statement and attach it to each bill listed.

With each match, put the most recent bill on top of the EOB (from insurance and supplemental EOBs) and staple together. Also attach any payment receipts and updated statements.

What to Check:

  • Were you charged twice for the same service?
  • Were you charged for services you did not receive or refused?
  • Is your insurance info correct?
  • Is your personal info correct?
  • Does any cost seem questionable or overly high?

Be Prepared: You may receive a bill + an insurance statement + a revised bill based on the statement or bill you paid. Ugh.

When you have a stack of stapled-together EOBs and bills (with the most recent bill on top), determine if the bill was paid in full.

If Yes, write PAID on it in marker or highlighter, hole punch and and file in the Paid Bills Tab.

If No, and insurance owes payment, write this in marker or highlighter, hole punch, and file in the Unpaid Bills: Insurance to Pay tab.

If No, and you owe payment, write this in marker or highlighter, hole punch, and file in the Unpaid Bills: Me to Pay tab.

Prescriptions: Stash new receipts in the To File box; then during a bill session, place in the 3-ring pouch in Tab 3.

Receipts: Stash new related receipts in the To File Box; then during a bill session, place in the 3-ring pouch in Tab 4.

If you do not agree with a bill, put this stapled match in the Take Action file box and dedicate the next bill session on the calendar to making calls to the insurance company to get answers to your questions.

Be Aware: You may get multiple bills for the same treatment. For example, for X-rays, you may get bills from the radiologist who reads it and the imaging facility who took it. For one surgery, you may receive bills from the anesthesiologist, surgeon, and the hospital.

ASK ABOUT CO-PAY ASSISTANCE:
CALL ZERO (888) 245-9455 + GO TO ZEROCANCER.ORG