Hospitals, pharmacies and other health care institutions maintain patients’ medical records. These institutions also issue patients copies of transaction documents for the medical expenses. It's important to record and maintain these documents for future reference, whether it's for tax purposes or to settle insurance disputes. Given the sensitivity of the information involved, it's also critical to make sure nobody else can access these documents easily.
Significance of the Records
Personal medical expense records include payments for insurance premiums -- except employer-sponsored medical insurance premiums -- and out-of-pocket cash you spend on disease preventions, curative treatments and diagnostic tests, as well as healthcare practitioners’ fees. These expense records are helpful references for issues involving your health insurance coverage, personal medical history, doctors’ appointments, change of physicians and personal finance. For example, you need to have your medical expense records at hand when filing insurance claims or solving insurance disputes.
File your personal medical expense documents in a spring or box file. Arrange the documents according to the date of the transactions or type of expenses. For example, create file categories for expenses on physician visits, medical prescriptions, over-the-counter medication, diagnosis, medical equipment costs, general wellness, cosmetics and so on. Follow the order of the documents in the folders to summarize the file’s contents in a record book. Split the pages of the record book into four columns for date, type of medical attention, cost, insurance payments and out-of-pocket payments. This affords you ease of access to your health documents.
Electronic file recording and documents storage are viable alternatives to the physical files and records. Create a labeled main folder in your preferred computer drive, and then create monthly labeled subfolders within it. Scan your medical expenses documents and file them in the sub-folders by month. Open a spreadsheet and create columns for date, type of medical attention, cost, insurance payments and out-of-pocket payments. Summarize details of these documents in another file. Alternatively, use free or paid web-based health records vendor applications, such as CareHealth and HealthFrame Expense Management, to record and track your personal medical expenses
Securing Personal Medical Records
Always protect your health records from unauthorized access, as they hold sensitive personal information. Keep your personal medical expense documents and record books under lock and key to restrict access to yourself and your spouse. Use security features, such as data encryption, strong passwords and updated computer antivirus software, to secure your online medical records from hackers.
Paul Cole-Ingait is a professional accountant and financial advisor. He has been working as a senior accountant for leading multinational firms in Europe and Asia since 2007. Cole-Ingait holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in accounting and finance and Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Birmingham.