How Long Do I Keep Medical Insurance Records?
Although many organizations are converting to a more paperless environment, paper records remain a big part of business, particularly within the healthcare industry. When it comes to medical insurance records, copies are generated each time there is any activity on your account, and for many, that can mean a significant accumulation of paper over the course of time.
If your desktop or filing cabinets are overrun with medical documents, and you’d like to thin your collection, don’t despair—chances are you can safely dispose of some, or all of them. But exactly how long you should keep medical insurance records depends on your individual circumstances?
The Importance of Record Keeping
There are a number of significant reasons to hang on to your medical insurance records for a specified period of time, including:
- Health tracking. Although your electronic health records are available to physicians across multiple multiple practices, in an effort to provide more streamlined healthcare, you may want to keep your own records on file to keep track of your health.
- Fact checking. Medical insurance records provide a reference point to detect billing errors and prevent fraud.
- Tax purposes. In the event you should qualify for a medical expense deduction, you’ll need to retain these documents as proof of your out of pocket expenses for medical treatment.
- Entitlement. Keep records on file to ensure you are receiving all the benefits that you are entitled to.
- Proof. If your insurance policy includes an annual deductible, medical insurance records can help to verify the point at which the deductible has been met.
Bide Your Time
The decision on how long to keep your health records depends largely on the reason you kept them in the first place.
Once any ongoing treatments have been completed, and you and your insurance carrier have satisfied the obligations for payment, there is no longer a need to keep these records for insurance purposes. In the event that you should need to look back in your records, your insurance company will have digital, and hardcopy records on file.
In the event of a serious or chronic illness, or as a matter of personal record keeping, medical insurance records may be kept indefinitely. In order to keep your health information and other personal data from falling in to the wrong hands, be sure to store this information securely.
If you meet the threshold for a medical expense deduction, copies of your medical insurance records should be kept on file along with your tax return, for a minimum of seven years.
Secure Document Destruction in Maryland, Northern Virginia & Washington, DC
The disposal of unwanted documents can be carried out in a number of ways, including recycling, tossing them in the garbage or shredding. Due to the confidential nature of medical insurance records, shredding is the best option. But home office shredders are ineffective, as materials may be easily reassembled and used to commit identity theft. Secure, on-site document destruction by the trusted professionals at TrueShred guarantees the confidential, permanent destruction of paper documents, with a secure chain of custody, state of the art equipment, and closed circuit monitors, where you can view the entire shredding process.
Give TrueShred a call today at (888) 322-3218, for a free estimate and to learn more about our professional on-site services.