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Applying for Health or Life Insurance? FAQS about the MIB

Posted In:  insurance

Many people are not aware of the centralized insurance reporting agency called the "MIB".  In the same way that lenders use a credit reporting agency to "check your credit history" before issuing a loan, insurance companies check with the "MIB" before providing you with a life or health insurance agency.  And, just as with the credit bureaus, incorrect information in your records can end up costing you...either in increased premiums, or even being denied insurance altogether.   Here's a set of answers to the most commonly asked questions about the MIB.


My friend tells me that when I apply for medical or life insurance, some mysterious agency called the "MIB" will do a background check.  Is this true?

Yes. Whenever you apply for medical, disability, or life insurance, your insurance company will typically access, and update, your medical records with the Medical Information Bureau (MIB).  While it does seem a bit intrusive, the intention is to detect, and prevent, insurance fraud.

What is the MIB?
The MIB is somewhat similar to the credit bureaus.   It is a centralized reporting agency, used by insurance companies, in much the same way that lenders and banks would use a credit reporting agency. If you have ever applied for health or life insurance and were required to submit to a post-application medical exam, asked to pay a higher-risk rate, or been refused coverage altogether, you probably have a file on record with the MIB.  Certain claims can also trigger the creation of the files.  About 20% of general public has a record on file with the MIB.
Can I see what's in this file?
Yes.  Again, similar to your rights with a credit reporting agency, you can get access once per year to any records that the MIB might have on file about you.  This annual access to your MIB records is free, and it's a good idea to check them to make sure they are accurate, preferably before you apply for any new insurance.  To gain access, you can either call the MIB at 1-866-692-6901 or visit the official web site.

If I apply for life insurance, will information about me be reported to MIB?

?No. The only time an insurance company would report information about you to MIB would be if a medical condition, test result or other information that would affect your health or longevity were found during the underwriting of your application. Most people do not have an MIB record. Out of every 100 insurance applications, only about 15-20 result in an MIB record.?? MIB does maintain an insurance activity index that records the name of any member companies that request information about you and the date(s) of their inquiries. This activity information may be requested by a member company whenever an inquiry is submitted.

Does MIB get copies of medical records from my Doctor or hospital??

No. The only information reported to MIB are brief coded resumes of medical conditions, tests, or other conditions significant to health or longevity that were found during the underwriting of your application.

How does the average consumer benefit from an insurance company reporting information to MIB?

?In today's marketplace, most businesses need information in order to make the most appropriate decisions. Insurance companies are no exception. To reach an underwriting decision that is fair to the applicant, to the existing policyholders, and to the company requires access to accurate, cost effective, reliable information. MIB serves as a reasonable balance between the consumers expectation of privacy and the companies´ need for information. By exchanging brief resumes of information deemed significant to the underwriting of the application, companies are able to protect themselves from those who omit or attempt to conceal facts essential to the underwriting process. This not only protects the company from unreasonable losses, it benefits applicants in the form of lower premiums and existing policyholders in the form of increased policy dividends.

How long does MIB keep records on file??

MIB records are kept for a period of seven years from date of receipt. Insurance activity index records are retained for two years.

What security steps does MIB take to protect the information in its files?

?MIB is committed to protecting the confidentiality of the information in its files and the privacy of the individuals to whom it pertains. MIB uses state-of-the-art computer and network security technologies to support these commitments.


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