Okay, I am BACK and ready to go. I have finally (I think) gotten used to the routine of teaching my early-morning Seminary class (daily studying New Testament with high school students before school) and am ready to work more of my normal life into my routine. Whew! And it has finally started to cool down here which means that I am finally ready to start my annual “purging of the file cabinet”. It brings me a great deal of joy to go through and get rid of stuff that I don’t need, and organize the stuff that I DO need in a more effective way.
Tonight’s project: Organizing past insurance information.
Sounds fun, right? I mean, what else could you want to do on a Saturday night that is more fun than this? :) Now, why should you want to do this? I’ll explain in the form of a question – have you ever shopped around for insurance? What is one of the awful things that they ask you for? Yep, your insurance history. They also ask you other questions, but those are for another post entirely. If you have everything typed up and printed off in a place where you know you will find it, it will take you two seconds to give your past insurance history. If you are like me and have never done it, this is what you go through to try and find the information EVERY time:
Yep. The green file folders of wonder. I put boring documents in the ugly green folders. Insurance qualifies as boring, so into the ugly green folders the information goes. I have over 10 years of information in these babies. And I always want to hit my head against the wall when I am applying for a different insurance and have to dig through ALL of this information to get the same few pieces of information over and over again.
How to start?
1. Find your past insurance information and get it all in one place. Hopefully you have it filed away at least – that should help you out a bit. If not, good luck. :)
2. Download a cute font. This always makes tasks like typing up your past insurance history so much more enjoyable. Fun fonts are the way to go.
3. Start new documents for each type of insurance, and possibly even for each person who has been insured in your household. If it is just you – hooray! That will be all the easier. If you have a spouse and five kids who you have been insured and you have changed jobs or insurance every year for the past 20 years….you may have a little more work cut out for you. But hopefully a lot of information will be the same from one person to the next. For us, my husband usually has been able to be insured through his grad school or his work at a good rate or have it covered (as far as health and dental insurance go), but my kids and I have had to be on private insurance and I am not afraid to find a better plan and move. This means I have my work cut out for me a bit.
4. Get all of your history in order – find your current insurance FIRST and work back from there. List the company, the policy number, and who is covered under the policy as a minimum. You may also (at least for your current insurance) want to put info on copays and such just to not have to dig around and find that info if you have a question.
5. Go back through your history, at least for a few years. I have had companies ask me for as far back as five years, but some are only concerned that you have been covered continuously for the last year or so. The more information you have to give them to show continuous coverage, the better. I have gotten good rate discounts on car insurance for having continuous coverage for the past 15 years, and private health insurance companies are a lot more willing to insure you and to not have as many dings against your health history if you have can show continuous coverage.
6. After you have gotten as much history as you can, starting from NOW and going back, save your files and back them up somewhere safe. Also, print out a paper copy to stick somewhere where you will find it. For me, the papers will go in the front of my ugly green folders because that is the first place I will look.
There you go! Easy, if not a little time consuming. In another post, I’ll talk about organizing your personal health history, both to have a record, but also to be able to more easily and accurately give information for re-shopping health insurance, which will be another post. That is something that I have learned a lot about through the years and have had a lot of friends come talk to me for help in understanding options and I have felt like there is not good, clear information about shopping for insurance and what coverages are needed.
Until next time – happy organizing!