Tracking Your Medical Bills and Health Insurance Claims

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 10/2017

Most people with cancer get a large number of bills and health insurance claims. This can become stressful if you do not have a system for tracking payments and filing documents. Keep your system simple so you can spend more of your time focusing on the people and activities that you value.

What to track

Keep detailed records about your cancer care and track all of the related paperwork. Doing so will help you manage medical payments. The following are examples of important information to track:  

  • Details about each appointment, including the tests or procedures you had and the dates they took place

  • The name and dose of each drug prescribed and the name of the doctor who prescribed them

  • Copies of checks and credit card receipts for co-pays and other health care costs

  • A current copy of your medical insurance coverage

  • Bills and invoices from health care providers, such as doctor’s offices, hospitals, or labs

  • Insurance claims filed by you, your doctor, or your hospital

  • Explanation of benefits statements from your insurance company for processed claims

  • Insurance reimbursements you have received

  • Insurance claim rejections you have received and appeal letters you have written

  • Payments and insurance claims for any molecular testing

Your medical expenses may reach or go beyond the Internal Revenue Service minimums for the year. If so, track all travel, meal, and phone expenses related to your medical care. You may be able to deduct a certain amount from your taxes. This would be the amount of your total medical expenses that are greater than 10% of your adjusted gross income.

Tracking information with a calendar

Start by using a paper or electronic calendar to record every medical appointment, test, procedure, and prescription drug purchase on the days it happens. Your calendar will become a full history that you can refer to for insurance claims and tax purposes.

Tracking information on paper or electronically

Many people also have a paper- or computer-based system for tracking their cancer care information. With a paper system, you can simply use a pad of paper to record medical payments. Add columns for the appointment date, doctor's name, amount paid, insurance claim status, and other important notes.

You can also track this on the computer in  a spreadsheet. This approach reduces the chance of paperwork getting lost or damaged. It also allows you to quickly search, sort, and compare data. You can create your own spreadsheet or use software templates to manage your medical data. Some software also provides templates for writing letters to dispute rejected insurance claims.

You can also use websites to save insurance information and manage medical bills. Carefully review each site before choosing one. Some sites may charge a fee for such services. Others may not be secure enough to protect your data and privacy.

Create a filing system

It is also important to have a filing system for the number of documents you will receive during cancer treatment. You may choose to create separate files for insurance statements, bills, and payment receipts. To save paper, consider scanning these documents and saving them on your computer.

Hire someone to manage for you

A health insurance claims assistant provides professional help and advice for dealing with insurance claims. A claims assistant typically files and tracks an unlimited number of claims, reviews medical bills for accuracy, and appeals rejected claims. He or she also contacts health care providers and insurance companies to resolve problems with claims. Fees for this service vary widely, but they are usually higher than other options.

The Alliance of Claims Assistance Professionals provides references to Claims Assistance Professionals in several states.

Help for Medicare beneficiaries

People with Medicare have access to an online tool for storing and accessing personal information.

Related Resources

Financial Considerations

Financial Resources

More Information

Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition