After a cancer diagnosis, many people find that becoming well-organized helps them gain a sense of control over all the information they receive, including financial information. To do this, first steps include finding out who best will answer the specific questions you have and setting up a personal organizational system.
The following suggestions may help you organize your cancer care paperwork:
- Find the filing system that works for you. A filing cabinet or simple desktop divider with individual folders keeps key information all in one place and makes it quick and easy to find. File new information as soon as possible, so it doesn't get misplaced. Your files may include notes made during doctor appointments, copies of your laboratory test results, your personal insurance information, and contact information for your doctor’s office, medical center, insurance company, support organizations, and others.
- Ask your health insurance company if you can be assigned a case manager, so you can talk with the same person each time you need to call. Also, maintain a written record of any conversations with all insurance company representatives, including the date, name of the person you spoke with, and what was said. Put the newest records at the front of your file, so you have a clear and up-to-date list of these discussions.
- Keep current copies of all insurance policies and refer to them by name and number in any communications about insurance coverage.
- Write down the list of questions that are most important to you, using the suggestions in this booklet or others. Start with your most important questions to make sure these are answered first.
- Try to decide ahead of time how to adjust your budget to deal with any loss of income resulting from less time at work, or expenses that are not covered by insurance.
- List each task you need to accomplish between doctor appointments, and put a check mark beside each one when you complete it to mark your progress.
- Ask a friend or family member to help you keep track of your regular monthly bills, or consider using a bill-paying service to help keep your payments on time.