Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#199924 - 10/19/09 06:06 PM Why and how long do you save medical bills?
MslaGriz Offline
Bronze (Newbie)

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 21
Loc: Western Montana
Hi all! I'm stumped by this seemingly easy question. I've saved all medical bills, insurance EOB's, etc. since my son was born in 1990! I plan on creating a medical history file for me, my DH and DS from those old bills, but I'm just wondering if there is any reason I should save the paperwork after I record that information. I remember seeing threads from the past about this, but I can't seem to find them now, so I'm hoping that you wise and wonderful ladies will have some ideas for me. I'm trying to toss papers older than 7 years (because of tax purposes) but I can't seem to talk myself into letting these go. All of our medical bills have been paid, so that is not an issue. Any help and ideas you can give me will be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Top
#199927 - 10/19/09 06:27 PM Re: Why and how long do you save medical bills? [Re: MslaGriz]
Kimberly Purcell Offline
Platinum (100+ Posts)

Registered: 08/29/06
Posts: 9293
Loc: Folsom, CA
_________________________
Kimberly Purcell
Amethyst Organizing
amethystorganizing.com
facebook.com/amethystorganizing
twitter.com/amethystorganiz

Top
#199954 - 10/20/09 12:55 AM Re: Why and how long do you save medical bills? [Re: MslaGriz]
mary57 Offline
Platinum (100+ Posts)

Registered: 07/23/07
Posts: 2928
Loc: va
my papers helped me proved that my disability started before age 21. i would keep everything until he has 20 credits toward social security disability.

mary
_________________________
haunted homeowner

Top
#200012 - 10/20/09 04:07 PM Re: Why and how long do you save medical bills? [Re: mary57]
MslaGriz Offline
Bronze (Newbie)

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 21
Loc: Western Montana
Thanks for the link ChefSam. That was one of the threads I was looking for.

Thank you, too, Mary57. I didn't even think about disability issues. It gives me more to consider before I do anything.

Hopefully I'll come up with some sort of a plan. Maybe it would be in my best interest to keep each year in a manila envelope and save them indefinitely.

Top
#200013 - 10/20/09 04:11 PM Re: Why and how long do you save medical bills? [Re: MslaGriz]
Kimberly Purcell Offline
Platinum (100+ Posts)

Registered: 08/29/06
Posts: 9293
Loc: Folsom, CA
You're welcome. One thing to consider is to scan the pages and simply save the whole thing as pdf files. My new printer has a document feeder which allows for scanning many pages as opposed to just one at a time.
_________________________
Kimberly Purcell
Amethyst Organizing
amethystorganizing.com
facebook.com/amethystorganizing
twitter.com/amethystorganiz

Top
#200033 - 10/20/09 08:06 PM Re: Why and how long do you save medical bills? [Re: Kimberly Purcell]
simplicity Offline
Platinum (100+ Posts)

Registered: 01/24/02
Posts: 3146
Loc: University Park, MD
If you need medical history just for the history (when a child was treated for X, what year you broke your ankle, etc.), use the bills to compose a chronology, then let the bills older than 7 years go (I save them that long to back up medical deductions on tax returns).

If you need to prove things, such as Mary57's disability, or that (say) you were actually treated for an injury for which insurance must pay, or any other critical reason, keep them as long as the reason applies, and maybe longer, but not forever.

I used to want to save every paper indefinitely. For instance, I had visions of saving ALL of my college papers. Just not possible - there are too many of them. I still have notes from some of the courses I took in my major, and a couple of papers I wrote, and that's it.

Is there any emotional reason you would save BILLS or statements similar to bills? Maybe there is something else you could save that would be more meaningful. When DS had ear surgery, the nurses made him a star badge for "bravery." We still have that, but no longer have the bills from the surgery itself (17 years ago).

Top
#201066 - 11/03/09 02:24 PM Re: Why and how long do you save medical bills? [Re: simplicity]
Dr. Organization Offline
Platinum (100+ Posts)

Registered: 05/30/06
Posts: 917
Loc: Columbus, Indiana
In our medical binder, I have a folder for each family member that is labeled "Keep long term." In that folder, I file papers for major tests or illnesses, such as most recent cholesterol readings and other lab results, lab report on a mole that is removed, paperwork relating to hospitalizations, immunization records, that sort of thing. I figure there is no need to save paperwork related to routine visits long-term; all "short term" paperwork is saved for 7 years, as it is claimed on our taxes in various ways. (I could save only those papers that were used for the tax claims, as I do mark what is tax-related as I file it, but it's much easier to just save the whole year in a folder than sort through for the tax stuff).

Top
#201503 - 11/09/09 12:18 AM Re: Why and how long do you save medical bills? [Re: Dr. Organization]
simplicity Offline
Platinum (100+ Posts)

Registered: 01/24/02
Posts: 3146
Loc: University Park, MD
Dr. Organization, I do almost exactly what you do - it is uncanny how your description matches my system in every respect.

For files in general, my general principle is, "If in doubt, keep it." It does no harm sitting in a box. There aren't many years when our medical records take up significant space.

Filing by year for me for almost all bills/statements and reference things such as medical works better than any other way, because it's the easiest way to find things.

For files that span multiple years (say until the folder gets full), I file the filled folder in the most recent year. For example, say I have house insurance records for five years, 2004-2008 inclusive. I will file that folder with my 2008 records. That way, the first box I'd look in would be 2008, where I'd find it ASAP instead of rummaging in several boxes.

The exception to the year filing is jobs: if I was at a job from 2005 to 2007, I obviously would file material for it only in boxes for those years.

Quite a few files continue indefinitely, such as the one for my car, which I've had for four years. I probably will have it for at least four more. I will either make a second folder for it, if necessary, or, as with most records as mentioned above, put it in the box for the most recent year.

Top
#201573 - 11/09/09 05:08 PM Re: Why and how long do you save medical bills? [Re: simplicity]
MslaGriz Offline
Bronze (Newbie)

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 21
Loc: Western Montana
Thanks so much Simplicity and Dr. Organization for your answers. I am in the same boat that you were in Simplicity. I've wanted to save every paper for eternity, but I know that's so unrealistic. So now I'm trying to unbury myself in the room I call my office. At least I think there's a room there somewhere in all my papers! It's going to take a lot of digging out, but there has got to be a floor down there to holding up all my stuff!

I do my DH bookkeeping for his job, as well as work a full time job. I know to keep only the last 7 years of records for tax purposes, but for some reason, my brain stops rationalizing when it comes to throwing certain things away.

I guess when it boils down to it, I'm scared I'll regret tossing stuff out, so if I'm unsure, I tend to keep. Now I've got so much stuff I'm keeping, I doubt I could find what I wanted if I needed it. I know I've just got to beat my head against a wall (with a smile, of course!) to break something loose and get over it!

Wish me luck. I know I'll need it! Of course, all you wonderful GONERS are a big help to me even though you don't realize it. I faithfully read the new threads every day with hope that I can get inspiration to dig myself out of my hole.

Top
#201616 - 11/10/09 12:05 AM Re: Why and how long do you save medical bills? [Re: MslaGriz]
raymond_valerie Offline

Platinum (100+ Posts)

Registered: 11/15/04
Posts: 2394
Loc: Canada
If the records are related to your taxes, you need to keep them as long as you keep your taxes (usually 7 years), otherwise, I'd tend toward tossing routine medical records, and keeping those that could be useful if you got a new doctor for medical background purposes.
_________________________
Valerie McInall smile


Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >