OK to Shred EOBs?

November 1, 2005

I have a "paperless" office. My billing person tells me that I must keep these paper EOBs (explanation of benefits) for several years. How many years do I have to keep my EOBs from various insurance companies? I would really like to shred them.

Question: I have a "paperless" office. My billing person tells me that I must keep these paper EOBs (explanation of benefits) for several years. How many years do I have to keep my EOBs from various insurance companies? I would really like to shred them.

Answer: Many practices retain EOBs for up to seven years - a nuisance, but they come in handy if a payer does a retrospective audit and demands thousands of dollars in refunds (believe me, it happens).

You might have a look at what your contracts do or do not specify on this point.

That said, there is no reason to keep the paper. A well-scanned version is just as legitimate - and easier to find later on. Just scan and store them by numerical assignment or whatever filing method works for your biller.