Ask the Experts

Q: How Can I Organize All of These Medical Forms and Bills?

Medical forms, paperwork, and bills are overwhelming — and they never stop coming. Here, learn what to throw away, what to organize, and how to do it while juggling adult ADHD.

Q: “I seem to be able to figure out how to organize the stuff in my house, but I’m really struggling with all of our medical paperwork. I have old lab reports and records that I don’t want to throw away, but I also have bills and insurance forms all over the place that need my attention. I just can’t find a system that works. And I like having the paper around; it makes me feel better and more secure!” – Drowninginpaper


Hi Drowninginpaper:

Aw, the dreaded medical paperwork. It just doesn’t stop piling up, right? And then there is the endless stream of notes from doctors’ visits, lab reports, e-mail correspondence, and insurance claims – it feels like you need a life jacket to keep yourself from drowning in it.

Remember that there is no right way to maintain and organize records and documents. The key to managing your medical paperwork is to create easy and efficient systems that work for you.

That said, I prefer to group medical papers into two basic categories – Reference and Current. Reference documents are papers that you want to keep for future use or referral but no longer need to access regularly or use on a daily basis.

How to Organize Reference Materials

Documents that fall under reference could include:

  • Medical history logs
  • Old insurance policies
  • Completed insurance claims
  • Old lab reports
  • Paid medical bills and EOBs

[Click to Read: How to Beat Back Your Paper Clutter]

Store these documents in a file cabinet, in a binder on a bookshelf, or in portable file boxes. These papers do not need to take up prime real estate on your desk. Also determine whether filing them categorically or chronologically works best for your way of remembering. I personally like my medical records saved chronologically, which allows me to review my medical history in its natural order.

Now that you have your old papers filed away, it’s time to focus on creating a system that allows you to have all your essential information you need at your fingertips.

How to Organize Current Medical Paperwork

Documents that fall under current could include:

  • Current insurance policies
  • Labs and test results
  • Medication log
  • Outstanding bills
  • Submitted claim forms

Your current papers are documents that are active — ones you refer to consistently and need to keep handy. I find that setting up a filing system works best to corral those bills and insurance forms that need your attention. If you’re short on desk or counter space, think “air space.” Hang a vertical file on your wall in your office or kitchen. Need this system portable? Use a file tote, accordion file or rolling file cart. Remember, it doesn’t have to be fussy or fancy. You can even put all your bills to pay and claims to process in a box! Just use anything that is going to keep important medical information accessible and simple for you to active on.

[Read: Filing Cabinets Don’t Work for ADHD Minds – Help for Paper Pilers]

One more tip: To keep your paperwork from getting too out of control, commit to spending about 10 minutes a week to go through papers, file away what you can, make calls, and complete any necessary actions. By doing so, you’ll minimize your overwhelm.

Good Luck!

Organizing Medical Forms: Next Steps


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Updated on October 20, 2020

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