how long should you keep explanations of benefits from medical

kacramJanuary 1, 2012

insurance. We have been going through the messy room and paperwork. DH wants to throw everything out. lol still keep checking account statements 7 years? I dunno! lol

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tami_ohio

YES! And keep your EOB's for at least 2. I have them from I don't know how far back, but with all your health problems, I would keep them for a long time, just so you don't get double charged or have something questioned.

Tami..who keeps lots of papers that could probably be trashed!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 3:12PM
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duluthinbloomz4

I think your DH is probably on the right track. If you've been billed and have settled any portion of a medical insurance claim you were responsible for, I might make a folder, save for one year then shred. Have you ever had to look back over those statements for any reason? Checking acount statements - if the account is rectified and balanced and you have no history of having to provide anyone ever with a copy of cancelled checks, shred. I mean, if you don't pay the electric bill, the lights eventually go off. Have you ever looked at any of those seven years of statements?

I wrestled with paper and won. I keep 7-10 years of tax returns, brokerage account statements (forever so I have the cost basis for everything), important house documents, will and personal directives, etc. The rest of the oh so important seeming paper that clutters up life's space goes away. It's liberating!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 3:20PM
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sherrmann

I agree with duluthinbl...Why would you ever need them, once the bills are settled? I wish they would save the money and not send them at all! They are almost impossible to make heads or tails of anyway, and you can't match them with the actual bills you get from the providors, so what's the use?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 3:28PM
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kacram

" are almost impossible to make heads or tails of anyway, and you can't match them with the actual bills you get from the providors" oh I do! lol

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 3:38PM
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alisande

We had a thread on this earlier in the year, but I can't find it using the search function. (GW doesn't excel at searching, apparently.)

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 3:45PM
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kacram

I searched also. I was just curious about the eobs.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 3:52PM
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gazania_gw

There is an article in the current "All You" magazine (available only at Walmart) titled "Organize your financial records". Regarding Health insurance policies and records, it says: Keep policy for as long as it is in effect. Records, until any treatment or claim is resolved. If you are deducting health care costs on your tax return, keep those records for 7 years.

"All You" is a nice magazine, by the way, with lots of recipes, homemaking tips and all around good info. Plus lots of useful coupons. I am not a regular Walmart shopper, but I do go in once a month just for the magazine.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 4:03PM
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duluthinbloomz4

Saving paper is a comfort level thing everyone has to find on their own. What I do might give someone else apoplexy and what others do might make me want to start a bonfire in the Webber Kettle.

If you've ever been executor(trix) of an estate and had to wade through 50, 60, 70 years of "important" papers trying to find the asset trail, etc., what's really needful to save becomes abundantly clear. The insurance papers for the first car purchased and long since compressed into a square of scrap metal are not helpful.

Maybe there is some satisfaction in matching up the EOBs with checks paid, but that's an individual style of record keeping. If 9 out of 10 responders to the thread told you they tossed theirs, would you feel confident enough to toss yours?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 4:39PM
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marie_ndcal

If you have online banking, and get paper or print out statments, I have been told you don't have to keep them because they go back so many years. But I haven't quite learn how to keep information on that site if the computer crashes.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 4:45PM
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chi83

I trash them. You can always get copies sent to you from the insurance company if a bill problem comes up. I had a problem and requested all my EOB for the previous year and had a tidy little packaged mailed to me 2 days later with all of the info.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 4:53PM
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azzalea

I do go through and match up EVERY SINGLE expense. And check that the charges are legit (we've been billed for tests that were never performed, and alerted our insurance company, who negated the entire bill).

Anyway, I'd keep them certainly longer than 2 years. Especially for Medicare and supplemental insurance. Medicare right now is reformulating the bills they paid in 2010--and sending out new EOB's (not sure if it's all the bills or just some). If they're doing that, there's no telling what year they may decide to recheck next. You definitely want your originals, to compare with their new versions, in case there's a question. It's been a nightmare, trying to settle my aunt's estate--just when I thought I'd finished coordinating all the medical bills/insurance/supplemental, I started getting these new sheets, and now I don't know what the future holds? I'm really hesitant to hand out the estate money, for fear I'm going to owe some dr. for something.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 7:22PM
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kacram

"Medicare right now is reformulating the bills they paid in 2010--and sending out new EOB's (not sure if it's all the bills or just some)." ARE you freaking kidding me? 2010??????

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 7:40PM
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sherrmann

I have no idea what tests were or were not performed while I was hospitalized, nor how to find out, so I couldn't possibly argue about it with a doctor or insurance company.

My file was several inches thick for 20 days in hospital in 2005. Often, bills were submitted by a practice, but paid to a particular doctor such as Pathologists and oncologists, infection specialists, hospitalists, etc. - mostly MDs, none of whom I ever met and whose names I never knew until they were paid.

The same thing happened when my husband was hospitalized three different times in 2005 and 2006, and when my 35 yo son had a heart attack in a different state in November.

I cannot imagine how one could find flaws in billing or match EOBs
to paid claims. Or, frankly, why. I was just happy to be alive, and spent months recovering. I had no strength for such tedious work, and no interest in it.

If we are ever audited or questioned about our medical bills, we will have to rely on their computer-generated bills.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 8:29PM
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azzalea

Kat--wish it were a joke--as I said, it's been a NIGHTMARE trying to keep things sorted out. Bad enough to have to do it once, but then to have to go back and go through all those bills again!!!!!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 8:45PM
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sherrmann

Azzalea, how could you possibly prove that a test was or was not done, or a medication given or not, months or years later? How could you trust your own memory of procedures done on a particular date, and medications given in particular amounts, while you were deathly ill?

I don 't even know half of what was done on our behalf while I and my husband were sick. There were dozens of bags of things hanging on poles, dripping meds into my unconscious body. How can you possibly know what they are charging for?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 9:01PM
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sue_va

When I get a statement from Medicare I look at it to see if it says THIS IS NOT A Bill. It always does. I put it in a stack that I keep for about a year and then POOF it goes to the trash.

I often wish I had kept and added up all the bills after I spent 7 weeks in the hospital back in 2003. It didn't occur to me to do that at the time, but it would be interesting to know what the total cost was.

Oh, well. Too late now.

Sue

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 9:47PM
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joyfulguy

"EOB" means ... "Estimate Of Birth"?

I just saw a small box (milk cartons stapled together) with 15-year-old receipts, filed by month ... time to recycle.

o j

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 7:17PM
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monica_pa

Both Medicare and my Medicare supplement have all claim information available on-line - for multiple years.
So - the paper copies they waste their money and postage on go right from the mailbox to the shredder.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 7:23PM
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bigfoot_liz

personally i would keep them 2 yrs! if you do a search about this you will find insurance companies have recently started going back sometimes 2 yrs and making changes which has left patients owing dr's and hospitals $$$. infact i recently read a story about a woman who now owed ten's of thousands of dollars to her dr & hospital after her insurance company reversed charges on treatments they had already approved and paid more than 1 year ago. i had major surgery this past fall and only just got billing problems fixed from Aug that were the insurance companies fault, you can not trust those idiots! ~ liz

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 10:34AM
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