The insurance industry’s equivalent to the credit bureau!
What is the Medical Information Bureau (MIB)?
The medical information bureau (MIB) is an insurance industry database which holds important medical and other significant non-medical information (driving information and hazardous sports or hobbies) on individuals that have applied for insurance in the past. It is a consumer reporting agency with the sole purpose of preventing future fraud, misrepresentation and omissions during the process of underwriting someone for insurance. Collecting, organizing and sharing this crucial information among member insurance companies significantly reduces a major insurance risk called anti-selection. Anti-selection occurs when an insurer evaluates and approves an individual for insurance at lower risk level when in reality there is a higher risk of loss due to omission of critical information or fraudulent activity.
How Does the Medical Information Bureau Work?
When you make an application for life insurance, disability income, long term care or health insurance, you must answer a series of questions about your past health history, lifestyle and avocations. Your answers to these questions, along with the results of your insurance exam and information in your physician’s reports will be evaluated by the insurance company to determine your underwriting health class which determines the rate you pay for life insurance.
On occasion, and individual applying for life insurance may forget to disclose or not be able to recollect past medical information. In other cases, crucial health information is intentionally withheld. The MIB is designed to collect and provide an exchange of this critical and confidential underwriting information to member insurance companies to protect them from individuals who unintentionally omit facts or purposely misrepresent their health and avocations in an effort to get a lower rate for life insurance.
The MIB works on a coded system and is not designed to be the sole basis of underwriting evaluation. When an insurance company uncovers medical or other information that may impact rates and this information is either new or was not previously disclosed, they are required to provide details to the MIB database in the form of code. These “code details” become a permanent part of the individual’s MIB file and will be accessed in the future by MIB member companies. Some examples of MIB reportable information include significantly elevated lab results (cholesterol, liver enzymes or kidney functions) uncovered on the insurance exam, adverse diagnostic test results such as stress tests or EKG’s or the use of cigarettes or other tobacco products (presence of nicotine) if found and not previously admitted to on the life insurance application.
When you apply for life insurance, a signed HIPPA Compliant Authorization is required which gives the member insurance company permission to access your MIB information. Every member company goes to the MIB on every life insurance application it processes. For the majority of individuals, the MIB has no file record as there has either been no application activity or there is no information that needs to be reported to the MIB. In the event you do have an MIB record, the code details are evaluated in conjunction with all of the other information gathered as part of the underwriting process. The MIB information will not be used as the sole basis for declining, rating or postponing your application for life insurance. In most case, if there is conflicting information, the insurance company will re-question you in an effort to clarify the information contained in your MIB record. The intent is to evaluate your insurance risk level based on the facts and to approve your life insurance application at the correct rate class.
Do I Have a Record at the MIB?
Most people don’t have a file record at the Medical Information Bureau. Unless you have applied for life, disability, long term care, health or critical illness insurance in the recent past and have a medical condition, hobby (piloting or scuba diving) or driving record that would be considered a threat to your long term health or longevity, you likely do not have a record at the MIB. Additionally, the MIB, much like the Credit Bureau, automatically purges your record every seven years.
Request Your Medical Information Bureau Record
It is a great idea to contact the MIB periodically to see if you have a record. While MIB code details can’t be solely used against you as a basis for denying life insurance, it can contribute to significant problems if errors are present. Just like your credit report impacts your ability to get favorable loans, your MIB record influences the underwriting of your life insurance policy.
By law, you can request a free copy of your MIB consumer report one time every year. To begin the process of requesting your MIB file, you can call the MIB toll free at (866) 692-6901. You will be asked to provide personal identification so that it can be determined if you have an MIB File. If you do have a file and once proper identification is satisfied, it takes about 2 weeks to process your request.
Can an Error in My MIB Report Be Corrected?
If there are errors in your MIB report, you can ask the Medical Information Bureau to reconsider the information contained in your record. You can contact the MIB at (866) 692-6901 and ask for a Request for Reinvestigation Form. They will send you the form to complete and return. Once received, the MIB will reinvestigate the disputed details with the reporting member life insurance company. If justified, they will amend your file to reflect the results of their investigation.
If the reinvestigation doesn’t resolve your concern, you can submit a statement to the MIB disputing the accuracy of the file details. Your statement of dispute will be made a permanent part of your MIB file and will be available each time your record is requested by a member company.
You can also contact the MIB in writing at:
Medical Information Bureau (MIB)
PO Box 105, Essex Station
Boston, MA 02112