The season of spring is often associated with a strong desire to do a deep, thorough cleaning of your home. It’s a global phenomenon practiced in big cities, rural communities and remote villages. Social scientists who have studied the annual ritual believe there are health benefits to decluttering, organizing and cleaning up your home. It seems people who adopt the annual habit experience more energy, a sense of accomplishment, contentment and sleep better.

Why not extend this positive habit to organizing your health insurance paperwork? But where should you begin? Well, if you see your desk piled up with unopened mail, health cards, medical bills and health plan sale flyers, that’s a great place to start.

First, sort through the clutter by separating insurance health cards, bills, letters and sales brochures. Look for any official government notices from Social Security or Medicare. Toward the end of each year, both agencies usually send notifications about increases in retirement benefits or changes to Medicare Part B premiums. If a letter looks suspicious or you are unsure about what to keep or what to throw away, call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227. Medicare takes calls 24/7, year-round, except for certain holidays.

Next, discard old bills, and expired health cards and statements. It is very important to keep track of your current health cards and plan benefit documents. Contact your health plan provider to replace any lost or missing health, drug, dental and/or vision insurance cards. In an emergency, it is critical to have access to the information to avoid delays in care and uncovered claims.

Lastly, take a moment to pay any outstanding healthcare bills and file them in your secured computer storage or other filing system.

But if you have already selected a health plan for the year, there is no reason to hold on to sales solicitations. You will get a whole new bundle of sales material in the upcoming fall open enrollment season, so toss out the old as plans may change benefits and costs each year. It’s very easy to accumulate piles of mail during insurance year-end open enrollment periods. But rather than keeping unimportant, irrelevant documents, just shred and toss them (check with Medicare first if you need to).

Finally, the key takeaway is you are likely to feel more secure, happy and have a sense of accomplishment if you do a little tidying up of your insurance paperwork. Once you are done, you just might enjoy the same benefits as those who practice the ritual of spring cleaning.

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