I could always publish my EOB as a found Novel...
January 20, 2013 9:41 AM   Subscribe

I have been in treatment for cancer for a very long time now, as I have discussed earlier in answers on the green. This is not a cancer question, however, but an insurance paperwork question: specifically, do I need to keep it all?

After 10 years in and out of treatment, I have collected enough Explanations of Benefits from several insurance companies that I can only measure them in the way that library archivists do: in square feet. Some of the EOB's are ten years old, or older. They are for treatments that I no longer do, and for doctors that I no longer see, in a state where I no longer live.
So my question is, is it a good idea to continue to store these papers, or do I take them to the next industrial shredding day at my bank, and relish in my new found shelf space?
posted by pickypicky to Work & Money (6 answers total)
I can't think of any real reason to save them. They are not valid as receipts for tax purposes. The only real value I can think of is if there is a discrepancy between what the doctor claims the insurance paid and what the EOB shows.

BTW, you might see if you can go all electronic on them. I did that last year - it's so much easier. I just save the PDFs to a folder in case I need them. I have never needed them.
posted by COD at 9:55 AM on January 20, 2013

Do you have a scanner or can you borrow one? Best of both worlds. You could scan them to PDFs and then shred them. Best if you use a sheet-fed scanner rather than flat bed. Sheet feeders let you drop a stack into one end and come out with a tidy PDF at the other end. We have one at my workplace, as part of our networked printer. I also have one I bought, but they're rather pricey.
posted by clone boulevard at 9:57 AM on January 20, 2013

Make an art piece with them!
Beyond that, I can't see a reason to keep them other than a certain paranoia. I have had rare instances where doctor's services that had been billed, adjudicated, and paid were mysteriously re-billed a year or more after the fact. Having the EOB was like the word-of god with the doctor's billing dept.

As a semi-related aside, In Tufte's book Envisioning Information, there's a two-page spread of the record of hospital procedures, codes and billed costs associated with a woman's stay at a hospital. It begins with the billing for her entry and follows-through all of the treatments and procedures done to her, and ends, unfortunately, at her death. The spread is accompanied with plain-english call-outs to explain what was actually happening to her. It's a fascinating, if sad, narrative.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:15 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't keep any EOBs longer than two years. Our health plan (a Blue Cross plan) provides easy access to online copies of the EOBs, so for routine claims I don't bother to keep a paper copy at all. This may not be good enough if you change insurance companies.

It would seem very unlikely you would ever need any EOBs more than two or three years old. You could shred the older documents, and if you have a good opportunity to do as others recommended, scan and save the newer (and future) EOBs digitally.
posted by Snerd at 11:31 AM on January 20, 2013

I have never kept a single one of these for anything and nobody has ever asked me to see any of them.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 2:48 PM on January 20, 2013

Reasons to keep EOBs.

1. There is an additional funding source that is willing to pay for aspects of your treatment not covered by your insurance. (I work as a Case Manager and my clients must provide EOBs to get additional funding.)
2. You disagree with the deductible, co-pay, or disallowed expense in the EOB.
3. You think they would make a good art project.

Other than that, they can go once you have compared them to the invoice from your medical providers.
posted by hworth at 4:07 PM on January 20, 2013

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