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How long should I keep my health insurance records?

A brief overview...
  • If you are healthy, keep your explanations of benefits for a year
  • Keep life insurance policy records as long as the policy is in effect
  • Keep property insurance information as long as you own the item

Keeping your health insurance records intact can be essential to resolving all sorts of problems that might come up over the years. These records also contain a great deal of personal information on them and making sure that no one who should not have them does not obtain them is critical to your personal security.

Aside from security and convenience, health insurance records can help you establish residency in a new state. You can also use them to compare health insurance plans if you are thinking of switching coverage or reevaluating your current coverage for a variety of reasons, even if you decide to keep your current coverage.

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Life Insurance Policies


How long you should keep your health insurance records varies depending on the records and your circumstances. However, it is advisable to keep health insurance records relating to a permanent life insurance policy like a whole life or universal life contract for the entire time that the policy is in effect. That is one length of time, but you might want to keep such records until the claim is finished following your death.

If you end the policy and do not plan on renewing it, you can get rid of those documents. In contrast, policies for term life insurance should stay with you up to the termination of the policy, which keeping records demonstrates.

Other Insurance Policies


Additional insurance policies like your car or home insurance should not be destroyed until the policy is no longer in effect. This will allow you to review the conditions, terms, and exclusions if you have to file a claim. It is possible that you will need to make a claim after the termination of the policy so keeping the records for a minimum of two more and a maximum of seven more years is a good idea that is explained by other insurance.

Medical Claims


Medical bills in addition to any paperwork involving medical claims should be kept for up to three years in the event you have to resolve a dispute with an insurance company. These documents could also prove useful for underwriting if you decide to apply for supplementary life or medical insurance during that time as shown by medical claims.

Those medical bills and claims are also likely to contain very sensitive information and should be stored securely to avoid identity theft. Such documents in the wrong hands could seriously jeopardize your long-term security.

Taxable Insurance Claims


It is unlikely that any of your insurance settlements will fall under the umbrella of being taxed by the federal or state government. However, such an event is a possibility. Taxable insurance settlements usually result from a situation where you are awarded a settlement sum that could be counted as profit. A policy amount being exceeded by a life insurance payment is one such situation where the settlement may be taxed.

In the event that you have to pay taxes on your settlement, include that claims paperwork with the year’s tax records and hold onto it for a period of seven years, which taxable insurance claims show as a good idea.

Property Claims


Property claims are quite a different story, though. Retaining any claims paperwork related to your home, car, and other high-value assets is not a fixed amount of time. Rather, retaining such documents for the entirety of your ownership of those assets is likely the best way to go with property claims.

If anyone is interested in purchasing any of these assets, they will likely also be interested in the item’s history. These documents can provide that history to that person and allow easier purchasing as well as less hassle for everyone.

Explanations of Benefits


What information is provided by explanations of benefits? Explanations of benefits provide whatever services you received from a doctor, hospital, or other healthcare organization. They also contain your billing amount calculated by a doctor, hospital, or other healthcare organization. Additionally, the explanations of benefits

Additionally, the explanations of benefits has information telling you how much Medicare or the insurance company has paid off this bill hence the name explanations of benefits.

Finally, this document will inform you how much of the bill you must pay yourself, which varies depending on the service and the healthcare plan you possess.

Why Keeping Explanations of Benefits is Good


Medical explanations of benefits are very good for establishing or reestablishing your health history or that of someone that you are caring for currently. It can also help you record billing errors and even possibly far more serious situations like insurance fraud.

Explanations of benefits are also great in making sure you receive the full benefits of your insurance so the insurance company fulfills their duty as outlined in explanations of benefits.

Furthermore, medical explanations of benefits can establish that you have met your deductible for the year, in the event that the health insurance policy you have includes a deductible. It can also show what you paid if you use a certain deduction about your medical expenses on the form known as the IRS 1040 Schedule A. This is filled out annually.

Keeping Explanations of Benefits for Healthy Individuals

There are two sets of rules for how long you should keep medical explanations of benefits. For healthy individuals, keeping your medical explanations of benefits for a single year is sufficient. You can use those documents to prevent double billing or to ensure the health insurance company that covers you know is aware you have met your deductible.

Keeping Explanations of Benefits for Very Ill Individuals


For those who are seriously ill, it is best to maintain an updated file for each year’s medical explanations of benefits. Group any related items and deal with any problems or concerns you have upon reviewing this information. Continue this pattern from year to year as you continue to accumulate documents and further medical explanations of benefits.

If the health condition is gone, maintain these records for another five years. In the event you claimed the aforementioned medical deduction, extend this to seven years.

For chronically ill individuals, keep these records indefinitely. If the individual died, maintain these records until the estate is fully resolved.

Keeping Records for Insurance

If your intention is to keep records for insurance purposes, you should maintain those records until treatment is finished, the insurance company has handled the costs, and the situation is over. If you discard documents before then, you might encounter problems in ensuring that the insurance company pays for the medical expenses.

Even if you are unsure the treatment is over, it is a good idea to keep the documents to avoid any potential problems in case the treatment must continue since records for insurance outlines this necessity.

As you can tell, how long you should keep your health insurance records can vary greatly. Sometimes, it is best to keep your health insurance records for a very long time and otherwise, you can safely dispose of such records after only a few years.

One general rule to follow is if you think you might need certain records, keep them around just in case. It is much better to have some health insurance records that you do not currently need than to find you are missing or have discarded records you require for any reason.

Before you go, make sure you have the best health plan available by comparing your current benefits and premiums to free quotes from multiple providers in your state. Click here to get started!

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