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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Your New Secret Weapon

For me, documentation has always been key, and I've kept everything from my past. 
Actress Diane Keaton

I can't say I've kept everything from my past, but I'm pretty good at recording things. Part of that is the journalist in me, part of it is the economist I used to be. When my first child was born with hemophilia, it seemed natural to me to use a spreadsheet to record every single bleed and outcome, log in every single vial of factor with lot number and assay size, and record every single doctor's visit. I thought everyone did that. Data is valuable.

Data and documentation may also be your secret weapon in the new health care environment. None of us really knows yet how the new administration will affect the Affordable Care Act, but it's trying to repeal it. While we wait for the dust to settle, the single best thing you can do right now, if you are not already doing it, is document everything. Every bleed. Every vial of factor. Every doctor's visit. Every Explanation of Benefit  (you are receiving them, right?). Every insurance paper. And above all, every phone call to your insurance company.

As someone who never documented phone calls, I learned the hard way how important this is. About 12 years ago some unsavory characters (not from the hemophilia community) had a business run-in with me and it required legal mediation. As my lawyer and I sat across from them and their lawyer, I was shocked, annoyed and impressed that they had documented every single phone call we had ever made, and were even quoting me! Even while I fumed, I thought, What a great idea. Note to self: document all calls.

And so I do. It's been helpful for recalling details, promises, and problems. It impresses people. It frees me up to not try to remember everything later on.

You don't need to document to impress people, but you will be glad if you document your insurance calls. You may one day need these notes to waive a fee, to get a reimbursement, or to file a complaint. Something tells me we're in for a lot of patient complaints down the road!

Hemophilia Federation of America has made documentation easier. Their Patient Insurance Log Book has pages already set up for you to log in calls. And at the end of the book is a complete glossary of insurance terms, and even the procedures to file a complaint for each of the major insurance companies! 


So get your secret weapon ready: order a Patient Insurance Log Book and record everything regarding insurance. It can save time—and money—someday.

Order the Patient Insurance Log Book at www.hemophiliafed.org or call 800-230-9797.

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