Attention: The MIB may have your medical information.
No, not the Men In Black. The Medical Information Bureau.
In this post, we explain what the MIB is and how it helps prevent fraud and keep life insurance affordable.
What is the Medical Information Bureau (MIB)?
MIB Group, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization formed in 1902. It’s owned by about 400 member companies in the US, Canada, and Caribbean region.
MIB operates as a database of underwriting information that insurance companies can search and access. In doing so, it alerts the insurance company of errors, omissions, and representations made on life insurance applications.
The goal is to reduce fraud so that insurance rates stay low and affordable for consumers.
How does it work?
Quite simply, the MIB operates as a secure information exchange. When you apply for an insurance policy, you give the insurance company express authorization to contribute underwriting information to the MIB. This includes things like your:
- Medical conditions
- Driving record
- Criminal activity
- Occupation status
- Foreign travel
- Participation in dangerous activities
Why does MIB collect this information? So that the next time you apply for insurance, the insurance company (with your permission) can access the database to uncover errors, omissions, and misrepresentations.
In doing so, the MIB helps prevent fraud, keeps insurance affordable for consumers, and lowers the risk for insurance companies.
How does the MIB keep life insurance affordable?
Fraudulent activities increase costs for insurance companies, who in turn pass these costs on to consumers. By preventing fraud and misrepresentation, the MIB protects both the consumers and insurance companies. MIB helps keep fraudulent claims and, by extension, premiums low.
Imagine what it would be like if the MIB didn’t exist. Knowing they have poor health, people may apply to many insurance companies to increase their coverage. They can also withhold underwriting information from a life insurance application with impunity.
Fraudulent claims would run rampant. As a result, premiums will also increase a lot. With MIB and underwriting, all this is avoided and everybody can buy insurance at a reasonable price.
How does the MIB protect my privacy?
When an insurance company shares information to the MIB database, it doesn’t share actual medical records. Instead, the information is coded so that there are no personal identifiers that can be used for identity theft.
Besides, MIB states that the information it gathers is only used for detecting fraud. It will only share your information with insurance companies as part of the underwriting process.
Lastly, MIB won’t sell your information to any third parties.
Does the MIB have your medical records?
MIB stores medical information that is material to the underwriting process in the form of MIB codes. For example, if you are diabetic, it will have a code for that in its database.
MIB does not collect or store medical records such as paramedical examination reports, attending physician statements, lab test results, x-rays, or any other medical record.
Does the MIB have a record of whether you've been declined or rated for insurance?
Although the MIB has your codes, it doesn’t know the underwriter’s decision—whether standard rated, rated, or declined. If company ABC rated you, this decision stays confidential with company ABC. The MIB will have no knowledge of this.
The codes will be there to serve as a flag for when you apply to company XYZ, but no underwriting decision will be revealed.
How long does the MIB have your record for?
MIB keeps your record for 7 years. After that, your record is wiped from its database.
Can you request your MIB record?
You can request one free copy of your MIB file per year. To get a copy, visit the MIB website and enter your personal information.
After receiving your request, MIB will mail you a copy of your file. The file will contain any medical and personal information that MIB has on you in the past 7 years.
Can you change your MIB record?
If after receiving your record, you believe that it’s inaccurate, you can contact MIB to request a change. It will then contact the insurance company to confirm the accuracy of the information.
It can take up to 45 days to send you the results of the request. You can expedite the process by sending your medical records from your own healthcare providers.
Fortunately, only 1-2% of records are inaccurate or incomplete, so chances are, you won’t have to make any changes.
For over 100 years the MIB has helped prevent insurance fraud and kept insurance premiums low.
While insurance brokers like us don’t have access to your MIB file, we can advocate for you when you apply for life insurance and help you get the best rate possible.