There is no one definitive answer to the question of how long dental offices should keep (EOBs). However, there are a few key things to consider when making this decision. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the factors that you should take into account when deciding how long to keep your EOBs.
What are EOBs?
EOBs, or Explanation of Benefits, are documents that your dental insurance company sends you after they have processed a claim. Your EOB will show how much the dental office charged for the services rendered, how much your insurance plan paid, and if there is any money left over that you are responsible for paying out-of-pocket. Most dental offices will keep a copy of your EOB on file in case you have any questions about your coverage or benefits. But how long should a dental office keep these records? The answer may surprise you.
According to the American Dental Association, “dental offices should keep treatment records for at least six years after the patient’s last visit.” This is because many dental insurance plans have a six-year statute of limitations, which means that you can file a claim for benefits up to six years after the date of service.
This is important to know in case you ever need to reference your EOBs for any reason. Be sure to ask your dental office how long they keep records on file so you can be prepared in case you ever need to access them. And if you have any questions about your dental insurance or benefits, be sure to contact your insurance company directly or your dental billing company. They will be able to help you understand your coverage and what you are entitled to.
When to Keep EOBs?
Here are some guidelines for keeping EOBs:
- Compliance with Legal Requirements: Dentist clinics must follow state and federal record-keeping rules. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), for example, requires all healthcare facilities to retain medical data for six years from the date of inception or the last date of service, whichever is later. Some jurisdictions require dental documents to be kept for more than six years.
- Requirements of Insurance Companies: Insurance companies may have their own keeping rules for EOBs. Some insurers require providers to retain EOBs for at least ten years, whereas others may require lesser or extended retention periods.
- Billing Disputes: EOBs may be helpful when resolving billing disputes with patients or insurance companies. It is recommended that dental offices keep EOBs for the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit, which varies by state and ranges from two to six years.
- Audits and Investigations: Insurance companies, state or federal authorities, or professional groups may conduct audits or investigations of dental offices. EOBs may be needed as evidence in such instances. Keeping EOBs for at least seven years can help guarantee that the dental practice has the documents to defend itself in such circumstances.
How Long Should a Dental Office Keep EOBs?
EOBs stand for Explanation of Benefits forms. These are the documents that show what services were performed and how much was paid by the insurance company. The EOBs also show any patient responsibility amount owed. Patients may need these documents for their own records or to provide them to another healthcare provider.
The dental office should keep the EOBs for at least three years. This is because the dental office may need to refer to them when billing patients or insurance companies. The dental office may also need to refer to them if there are any questions about the treatment that was received.
Keeping the EOBs for a longer period of time is always better, just in case they are needed. They should keep them in a safe and secure place, such as a filing cabinet. If the dental office does not have a filing cabinet, they should keep them in a box that is labeled with the date of the treatment. The EOBs are an important part of the dental office’s records. They should be kept in a safe and secure place so that they can be referred to when needed!
Factors to Consider When Deciding How Long to Keep EOBs
There are a few factors to consider when deciding how long to keep EOBs. One is the type of dental office you have. If you are a solo practitioner, you may want to keep them for a longer period of time than if you are part of a group practice. Another factor to consider is whether or not you outsource your billing. If you do, the company you use may have different requirements for how long they need EOBs on file.
Another thing to think about is what type of EOBs you have. If they are simply paper documents, they will take up more space and be more difficult to store than if they are electronic. You’ll also want to consider how often you need to access them. If you only need them for occasional audits or to answer patient questions, you can probably get away with keeping them for a shorter period of time than if you need to refer to them on a daily basis.
Ultimately, the decision of how long to keep EOBs is up to you. However, it’s important to consider all of the factors involved before making a decision. This way, you can ensure that you are keeping them for the right reasons and that they will be available when you need them.
Secure Storage and Disposal of EOBs
Dental offices are responsible for keeping patients’ personal and medical information secure, including EOBs. EOBs must be securely stored and disposed of properly to safeguard patients’ privacy and to meet state and federal laws.
Here are some recommendations for safe EOB storage and disposal:
1. Secure Storage: In dental clinics, EOBs should be stored safely and securely, such as in a fireproof filing box or a password-protected computerized database. These documents should only be accessible to authorized employees, who should be trained in privacy and security procedures. It is also critical to back up electronic records frequently to avoid data loss or corruption.
2. Retention Period: As previously stated, dentist clinics should retain EOBs for at least seven years. EOBs can be safely removed after that time, ideally by shredding or incineration. If EOBs contain confidential information such as social security or credit card numbers, it is best to shred them professionally to guarantee destruction.
3. Procedures for Disposal: Dental practices should have defined rules and processes for disposing of EOBs. Employees should be taught how to manage and dispose of records correctly. EOBs, for example, should be shredded securely and not left unguarded in public places where they could be taken or tampered with.
4. Digital Security: To prevent data leaks, dentist practices that keep EOBs online should use secure computers and frequently upgrade their software and networks. To defend against unauthorized access, having a safe password strategy and regularizing password is critical.
Overall, there is no definitive answer to the question of how long should a dental office should keep EOBs on file. Ultimately, it depends on a variety of factors, including state regulations, your own internal policies, and patient preference. However, by taking all of these into consideration, you can develop a system that works best for your practice.