One of the most important paperwork in your home is medical paperwork. And it’s likely the most confusing, right? While I can’t claim to decode medical terminology and insurance billing, I can help get these very important pieces of paper organized so that they’re easily accessible when you need them! A medical binder is essential for each member of your family and so easy to put together.
As many of you know, Joe & I got a new member of our family last winter: a very energetic doberman puppy! Reagan had an overwhelming amount of vet appointments in her first couple months of coming home to us. Being totally new to doggy illnesses & lingo, I was constantly confused and definitely wasn’t getting the most out of our vet appointments. Adding to my confusion, we changed vets after a couple months and my new vet had lots of questions that I couldn’t remember the answer to. After months of feeling like an awful puppy mom, I needed a solution.
Not only is a medical binder great for each PERSON of your family, it can easily be adapted for the animals in your family! In it, you’ll find:
- all medical bills & paperwork
- an overview of each doctor (vet) appointment
- important contact information and insurance numbers
I take Reagan’s with her to all her vet appointments.
- Colorful card stock paper
- Clear 8 1/2 by 11 Reusable Envelopes
- Decorative Label Dicut Punch (optional)
- Scrapbooking tape or scotch tape
- Label maker (optional)
- Doctor Visit Tracker print out
- Important Information Card (for dogs!)
The first step is to decide HOW you want to label the folder tabs that will hold medical bills, notes and paperwork for each appointment. A couple options:
By Date: For Reagan, I opted to have one tab for each month. This may be a little overkill for many of you. Reagan was going to the vet almost every two weeks, so having all her records sorted by month was really helpful. As she gets older and has less appointments, I’ll plan adjust the tabs to quarterly. Within each month’s tab, I put ALL vet bills and any paperwork I receive from the vet, and medicine instructions.
By Type: In addition to having your paperwork sorted based on WHEN the appointments happened, it may be helpful to sort some of the paperwork based on a particular situation. For example, all Reagan’s paperwork (vet bills and all documents) for her spaying go in it’s own tab regardless of which month the appointments took place. This could be a good way to also organize medical information for people surgeries 🙂 !
By Insurance: If you’ve transitioned insurance companies recently, you may want to keep your information stored based on which insurance provider was covering the medical expenses.
I used a combination of these folder tab options when creating Reagan’s binder. Here’s how I created her folder tabs:
Months: As I mentioned above, I’m starting out sorting Reagan’s paperwork based on month since she’s had a lot of vet appointments lately. As she gets older (and hopefully less prone to finding herself at the vet), I’ll likely switch these to quarterly or even yearly for the older paperwork.
Spaying: We’re getting ready to spay Reagan and our vet supplied us with LOTS of informational pamphlets. Since this is a big surgery, I like keeping all this information (plus corresponding vet bills) in its own tab. All the paperwork will be sorted based on date within the ‘spaying’ tab for easy access.
Notes: From time to time our vet supplies us with handouts on good-to-know puppy information. Instead of pitching it and promising myself I’ll remember it, I store it in the ‘notes’ tab.
Breeder: Our breeder gave us a packet of information when we picked up Reagan (AKC registration, lineage info, etc).
Making Folder Tabs: Using my decorative label dicut punch, I punched out enough dicuts for the number of tabs that I want in a variety of colors.
My absolute FAVORITE organizing supply is my Epson portable label maker. There’s even an app so I can literally label on the go 🙂 . Life. Complete. I printed out a label for each of the tabs using their clear label tape on black ink.
I adhered each label to the top half of the dicut. Next, using scrapbooking tape (regular scotch tape would likely work fine), I placed two pieces of tape on the bottom quadrants of the dicut.
Using a full size (8 1/2 by 11) card stock paper, I turned the paper sideways (landscape) and taped the dicut in the middle. In effort to make it even, I chose not to eyeball ‘the middle’. Instead I measured out the half the width (which is 5 1/2 inches) and made a small mark. Don’t worry the mark won’t be visible as you’re putting your label right over it!
I really LOVE using these clear reusable envelopes, as they’re easy to grab and throw in my bag without taking up a lot of space. Realistically I knew I wouldn’t carry around a 3 ring binder in my bag. Using these clear thinner envelopes really makes these medical binders PORTABLE! (which was the goal!)
After putting all the folder tabs in the envelope, I went through the huge stack of Reagan’s medical paperwork. I placed each document in the appropriate section.
As I sorted through all the paperwork, I filled out this Doctor Visit Tracker. The goal was to be up to date documenting all Reagan’s appointments. I found that having one sheet listing all her appointments (and some basic details) was incredibly helpful. This sheet goes right in front of the folder tabs for easy reference.
The final item added to Reagan’s medical binder was the Important Information Card. As you probably guessed, this card lists important information that I may need when making appointments and talking with the vet. It includes Reagan’s birth date, Breeder information & contact information for our vet.
Any time we’re off to the vet, this binder comes with us!
Now if someone could just teach us how to read those insurance bills 🙂
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