An insurance Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is considered part of the patient’s financial record and should be maintained as long as your state record retention law or your PPO contract mandates, whichever is the more stringent rule applies. If your state does not have a record retention law, the ADA suggests a period of seven years for record retention. Remember, for children, the record should be maintained the number of required years beyond their 18th birthday. Refer to your state dental board or state dental association regarding state record retention laws and your PPO contract and processing policy manual, if you are in-network. Wow, that is a lot of EOBs to maintain, effectively. Many dental offices believe that EOBs should be scanned into charts for easy accessibility and reference, but ultimately this is a bad practice for many reasons:
Possible HIPAA Violation
Most EOBs are paid by way of a bulk EOB, meaning more than one patients’ information is attached. You cannot scan one patient’s information into another’s chart in your dental software. This can be a violation of HIPAA.
Scanning EOBs into each individual patient’s chart is a drain on your front desk’s time efficiency. Your front desk should be making sure insurance verification is completed, all data entry is correct, and patients are getting the attention they need. Having an EOB in the patient’s chart is not something that needs to be done in order to run your business. There are other more efficient ways to access the same information.
Information is Accessible 24/7 Online
Most EOBs are accessible on the web through the company’s website available via a login for each dental practice.
If you do want your own file, there’s an easier way to save the EOBs as a hard copy
Paper copies of EOBs can all be saved as one file. Once you have posted all EOBs at the end of the day, they should be scanned ONCE only, in alphabetical order by insurance company (i.e. Aetna at the beginning and United Healthcare at the end). Save your file by date so it’s easy to look up. With this system in place it only takes seconds to access an EOB for any reason. If you are on the patient’s ledger and need to access an EOB, you know the exact file to access and where it will be in the file because it’s dated and in alphabetical order. You won’t be in violation of HIPPA, you only had to do one bulk scan, and the information is efficiently organized.
One thing to remember is you should not be having to access EOBs frequently. If insurance verification is done properly, the correct amount is collected up front before the patient leaves, insurance is posted accurately, and even an explanation note if a claim was denied or paid less than anticipated, it will leave the patient with a $0 balance. Your dental office is busy, and there is so much to do. Time is money, and time should NOT be spent individually scanning EOBs into patient charts. Try out our alternative suggestions and let us know how it worked for you.
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