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