Although we’re doing more and more online, there’s still too much printed material in my life. I just cleaned out my file cabinet, throwing out several thousand pieces of paper that accumulated over the last year alone. Many of them were invoices from various companies I do business with. Even those that I pay online still insist on sending me a paper bill. Others mail me a notice reminding me that I don’t have to send them a check because they’re going to deduct it directly from my bank account. You have my e-mail address on file — use it!
The health insurance industry is responsible for more than its share. First we get the bill from the doctor, which tells us how much is pending with the insurance company. Then we get the Explanation Of Benefits form from the insurer, telling us how much they covered and how much we still owe the doctor. Then we get another bill from the doctor, telling us that we now have to pay that amount. These three can’t be condensed into one? Or posted online?
We refinanced our house a few months ago. That meant spending an hour signing (in duplicate!) the deed, the note, the proof of homeowners insurance, the proof of title insurance, and dozens of other legal forms — including the ones we signed to acknowledge that our names are our names and our signatures are our signatures. And after we signed it, we had to initial our signatures! There was even a form that said they have a right to have us sign more forms in case they made any mistakes or left anything out.
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against paper. While I constantly consume news and information via various electronic and digital forms, I still enjoy sitting down with the two print newspapers delivered to my house every morning. My wife and I are voracious readers who take full advantage of our public library’s book collection.
However, I thought that by the year 2012, the only file cabinet I’d own would be the virtual one in my hard drive. But then where would we keep the receipt?