This may cause you to smile, because there are many folks who feel that they don’t have any spare time.  But some of the things we are going to mention will save you time in the long run.  The weekend might be a good time to start, so let’s get going! 

How many times do you get a bill from a clinic, doctor, or hospital and you just lay it aside for a while?  Do you think, “I don’t remember seeing Dr. X on that particular day”, or “I didn’t have that test”?  Don’t pay that bill until you have received your Explanation of Benefits from your insurance company.  If you are on Medicare, you will get an EOB from them, and then one from your supplemental insurance.  I started a folder for each of us, my husband and me, and keep them separate, with the date of our doctor visit and the reason we went.  Then, when the bill arrives, I can compare it to their charges.  Once I receive the EOB’s from the supplemental insurance company,  I know for sure what I really owe. 

Experts estimate $100 billion is lost to health care fraud in the United States each year.  Patients and consumers feel these losses in the form of higher health care costs.  If you are billed for services or equipment you didn’t get, and you need that item or service later, your claim could be denied on the basis you’ve already received it.  This is a very important reason you should scrutinize your bill.  If a provider files a suspicious claim on your policy, it can mean a number of things, including a billing error, a fraudulently filed claim, or possible identity theft. 

Keep your medical folder or diary current, as it’s easy to forget when we went to the doctor, especially if we aren’t feeling well that day.  This has worked for me, and is like putting a puzzle together once all the explanations of benefits have come in.  Don’t pay the bill up front, as many times that is duplicating payment – you go ahead and pay it, then your insurance pays it, and it will be much harder for you to get a refund for overpayment. 

Another kind of record-keeping that might make your life easier is one that helps you keep track of a certain goal you are trying to reach – whether it is quitting smoking, exercising more, or managing a health condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure.  I remember as a kid, I loved to write in a diary every day.  If you are trying to lose weight, keeping a food diary is helpful.  A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found people who kept a daily food diary for six months lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records.  There are even electronic tools that come preloaded with information, such as foods’ fat and calorie content; these may become more accurate.  But a paper and pencil diary is inexpensive and easy to set up.  The main thing is to check in with your diary often.  Write down the food you eat right after the meal, so you don’t forget.  A study in the journal Contemporary Clinical Trials reported people who recorded what they ate within 15 minutes of their meal lost the most weight. 

There are probably several goals you have set for yourself rather than losing weight, or keeping up with health costs.  It may be handling stress at work.  When our inner thoughts stay hidden in our minds, frustration builds up, and we don’t know how to overcome this.  Document things that you feel are causing this stress.  Seeing it in writing will reveal how you are dealing with it.  Just taking the time to write your feelings down may be as successful as talking it out with another person.  Try the diary approach and see if it will help. 

Keeping records at home are as important as any records you are responsible for in your line of work.  See if keeping a diary will help you be successful in reaching your goals.  Have a great week-end, and a safe one!