Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The lowdown...

  • If your medical treatment has long since been completed, and the procedure has been paid in full, you can likely dispose of the health insurance records
  • If you want to keep track of your personal health over time, you might want to hang onto the records indefinitely
  • Because certain medical related expenses can be deducted on your federal tax return, you might want to hang onto these for at least seven years in case the IRS asks for them
  • Consider switching to electronic records in order to protect your identity, save space, and hang onto health insurance related records for a bit longer

Even in this age of digital documentation, people often still have a great number of health records on hand. With many of these are pertaining to health insurance, so a common question is how long you should keep those records.

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Health Records Are Handy for Insurance Purposes


If you are currently undergoing treatment for any of a number of ailments, it is generally advisable that you hang onto all related records until your health insurance has confirmed that they have issued the final payment.

You will want to be completely confident that the matter is resolved before you get rid of any records related to your medical treatment.

If you were to actually discard any of the records before final payment has been cleared, you could have a difficult time proving that mistakes were made along the way.

In addition, if the insurance company ends up refusing to pay for any portion of your medical related expenses, you will need documentation in order to file an effective appeal to that decision.

Since there really is nothing wrong with hanging onto documentation, you really should consider keeping those records until you are 100 percent certain that the issue has been completely resolved.

Even then, if it is a major treatment that you might need to have repeated later in life, having those records on hand can you help you as seek medical advice in the future. It can also help you compare prices and know if there is something you need to be aware of or not.

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Personal Health Tracking


As we age, it becomes more difficult to keep track of personal health issues for two main reasons:

  • To make sure your medical providers understand your history.
  • To help you remember an overview of your health.

We simply forget what we have gone through. Without adequate medical records to guide them, doctors can even be at a disadvantage when treating you for a new ailment that might be rooted in something you experienced years ago.

While it is true that electronic health records today enable doctors for a variety of practices to communicate with one another about your health related issues, there is something to be said for keeping a personal copy as well.

You might also want to keep all of your health insurance records in order to maintain an accurate picture of the treatments you have received over the years.

You never know when this information might come in handy, and it might take the time to access the same information via electronic records.

It is also useful from a personal perspective to remember what you have gone through in order to provide you motivation to stay the course of healthy living.

Health Insurance Records Are Useful for Tax Purposes

As you may be aware, existing federal tax laws permit deductions on your tax returns providing that certain conditions are met. Keep the following in mind:

  • Tax deductions – Your health insurance records can go a long way towards providing the documentation necessary to get this deduction. In addition, by the time the tax year comes around you might not remember all of the expenses that you incurred.
  • Itemized expenses – You will need an itemized record of each expense and what it is for. This is simply too difficult to try to recreate after the fact, so it is better to retain those records for reference when you go to file your taxes.
  • Seven years – Keep in mind that the IRS can come to you with questions about your tax returns for a period of up to seven years. Because of this, you will want to keep you health insurance records for at least that long if you plan to file for any deductions on your tax return.

Turn Your Paper Records into Electronic Ones


If you would like to keep your health insurance records for a long time but you just don’t like to have that much clutter lying around, consider going electronic.

Not only are many records today electronic already, it is also easy to turn those paper records into electronic ones.

Storing electronic copies of your important documentation can really save space. You can scan all of your health insurance receipts and related papers into your computer and then securely shred the paper copies. Just remember to have a good backup system to safeguard your data.

Electronic records are also safer and more secure than paper copies, so this is a good move to make.

Just to be on the safe side, you will want to check with your health insurance provider to make certain that they will accept your electronic records should you need to present them at a later date.

The IRS already accepts all types of electronic proof should you need to submit anything to them, so keeping an electronic portfolio of your health records for years should be an easy enough system to implement.

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In Conclusion…

Keeping accurate medical records can really benefit you from both a health and financial perspective.

At the same time, you do not want to carry around endless reams of paper with you if you do not need to. Not only does it take up space, it also compromises your personal privacy if the records fall into the wrong hands.

If you can, work to get your heath insurance records in electronic form and just keep them in a secure location. If you want to keep personal copies, then follow the guidelines contained in this article to know how long to keep the documentation and when it is okay to shred them.

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