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Ask Sid: Holding on to Medical Records

Q. How long should I keep medical records?

A. Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna, in his Ask the AG column, recommends keeping medical bills for at least one year in case there’s a reimbursement dispute. Some experts suggest keeping other records for five years after the end of treatment. Be sure to shred—not just toss—anything with your personal information, such as your health insurance ID number, to help prevent medical identity theft by trash-picking crooks.

But keep your medical history and information on your prescriptions and on your health insurer’s policies on reimbursement, benefits and other questions.

Sid Kirchheimer is the author of Scam-Proof Your Life (AARP Books/Sterling).

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