How Long Should a Medical Provider's Office Keep EOB's on File?

by Antoinette

How Long Should a Medical Provider's Office Keep EOB's on File?


Response:

It’s important to remember that and EOB (Explanation of Benefits) is not considered to be a part of the patient medical record. So laws and regulations that apply to medical records would not necessarily apply to financial records. That’s also a good reason to keep EOB’s separate from medical records.

I read a good discussion on this topic that referenced the CMS regarding retention of financial records that requires all financial records and supporting documentation be retained for at least 3 years. There’s much more extensive discussion - and opinions on the topic here.

However for IRS audit reasons, it may be wise for a provider to retain for at least 7 years. I assume this can be in either paper or electronic form, though I haven’t seen anything that clarifies this. I would think electronic files that are organized and backed up would be preferred.

I would recommend erring on the side of caution and retaining at least a secure copy of any EOB’s and financial records for at least 7 years.

As a billing service we typically hold on to EOB’s for as long as we have a client. In our case we frequently refer to old EOB’s for correcting billing errors, and to gather information for re-submitting a denied claim. Also to protect ourselves for any liability reasons.

If anyone has more insight on this, please comment below.

Comments for How Long Should a Medical Provider's Office Keep EOB's on File?

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Jan 23, 2017
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EOB question
by: Anonymous

If we can obtain the EOB's electronically and have them posted in the patient's ledger, is there still a need to keep them for 3 years?

Nov 07, 2016
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Info from CMS
by: Anonymous

Below is a link to CMS guidance on medical records retention. One quote that sticks out is " More
importantly, medical health records are
legal business records."

It goes on to say that each state may have different requirements for record retention but providers that accept Medicare funding are required to retain patient records for 10 years.

Here's link to CMS Medicare Learning Network document on record retention

Nov 04, 2016
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retaining financial records
by: Anonymous

But what does HIPAA require?! It specifies financial records. How LONG do they have to be kept for HIPAA?

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