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How long should I keep my health insurance records?

Keep in mind...
  • Keep your 1095-A, B, or C for at least 5 years, but no more than seven
  • Keep all correspondence documents regarding denials of coverage, reasons, and appeals
  • Maintain an updated plan coverage summary and monitor your health related expenses
  • Maintain paperwork that demonstrates the medical history of everyone covered by the plan and track when the deductibles or out-of-pocket limit is reached by maintaining receipts
  • Organize all of the papers in individual folders for each member of the household

Using your health insurance plan seems to activate what feels like a bombardment of paperwork to your door. It can seem confusing to know what are the important documents to keep and for how long. Five to seven years is the typical amount of time that most papers have a use. Organization and knowing the critical documents to keep will help this situation stay under control.

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Maintain a 5-Year Tax Record

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You are normally sent form 1095-A, B, or C showing all of the necessary information with your health insurance plan at the start of each new year. Form 1095-A is sent to you in regards to any marketplace plans you have.

A 1095-B and C are sent from other types of private health insurance sources. This is proof you have had essential coverage. Keep these with your tax returns for up to five years.

Coverage Denials and Appeals

As much as you want health insurance coverage to help with all expenses, there may be times you have a particular service, or treatment denied. There can be many reasons for a denial, such as:

  • Medically coded incorrectly by provider
  • Not a service, or item covered by your particular policy
  • Treatment or service is cost-prohibitive

It is important to get copies of paperwork that shows the medical treatments and services that are denied. Find out whether it is covered by your insurer. This means going through any handbooks about the coverage you received after signing up for the plan. Keep copies of all paperwork you receive in the process of appealing the denial of coverage.

Monitor and Budget Medical Expenses

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Getting and maintaining health insurance is no longer an option. This had made the costs, at least for premiums, a necessary expense. You should incorporate your regular monthly health expenses into your the household budget. Save all receipts for refillable prescriptions, doctor visits, tests and testing supplies.

You can get a good picture as to what your medical expenses are and whether you need to begin searching for a health insurance plan that is cheaper, offers more specified services, or find other ways of saving money.

Knowing What Your Coverage Includes

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Any health insurance plan you sign up for is required to give you a copy of the summary of benefits. This will show what type of plan you have, what it covers and what it will not cover. There should also be a clear process outlined for filing an appeal if any needed medical services are denied.

You should keep this information handy and accessible for times you have questions about specific coverage. Make sure you update this information anytime you switch plans or insurance companies.

Easy Access for All Diagnostic and Treatment Papers

You can build a nice personal health record file at home from simply keeping and maintaining the health insurance documents regarding treatments, doctor’s visits, tests, and medications. This proves helpful in situations of dealing with chronic medical conditions, on-going health concerns that require further treatment and any case where you may need to switch doctors.

It will take time for a new doctor to get your official medical records, but you can offer a wealth of information in paperwork that can help them begin the treatment you need without delay.

Deductible and Out-of-Pocket Limits

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You should keep a running list of the expenses you have paid towards your medical care during the year. It is a necessary way to find out that magic moment you cross the threshold of having the deductible paid. Once this amount is satisfied, the plan benefits will kick in full force and help with more of the costs.

The final amount you will have to pay for your medical care during the year is called the out-of-pocket limit. At his point, the plan will cover your qualified medical expenses at 100 percent.

The key is knowing what your deductible and out-of-pocket amounts are, combined with knowledge of what you have sent so far on the year.

How can I keep health insurance records organized?

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You can create files of medical information for each member of your family that is as detailed as necessary. The basics of keeping things organized are by separating the documents out per person. You can better track the health history and expenditures individually.

A folder with multiple pockets will allow you to keep the treatment papers, receipts, prescription drug use, tax information and other specifics in their own area. Have a different folder for each person covered by your health insurance plan.

Keep a sheet that is updated regarding total expenses paid towards deductibles, but an overall sheet for the entire amounts paid to satisfy your out-of-pocket limit. You can clear out everything from five to seven years back as you enter each new calendar year.

It may seem like you get a lot of papers to sort through when it comes to having and using a health insurance policy. Most of them are useful to some extent.

Good organization and knowing what to save can make the decisions to keep or toss easier. Contact a health insurance expert for any questions you have about maintaining a quality set of plan records and documents.

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