The MIB is the Medical Information Bureau, a membership corporation for health and life insurance companies in the United States and Canada designed to centralize important information pertaining to the evaluation of insurance risk.
What this means for you, as an individual applying for health or life insurance, is that the MIB acts as a central database (across Canada and US) that contains a reference do any and all information that these companies need in order to evaluate your premiums, and whether you qualify for insurance.
The intent behind the MIB is to alert life and health insurance companies if they find any discrepancies, lies, or omissions in an individual’s application for insurance.
What is an mib report?
The MIB report is like your credit reporting agency, but for for health and life insurance companies. It contains references to your past medical history such as medical conditions, prescriptions, lab results, etc, in a coded format. The MIB itself does not keep a record of all your medical information but rather, displays a series of codes (for privacy purposes) pointing to different aspects of your medical history.
For example, let’s say 5 years ago you told your past physician that you smoked cigarettes with your friends once in a while. The MIB will only show a code for Nicotine use. But no other details.
If 5 years later you apply for a new life insurance policy, the insurance company will order records from the MIB and they will see a code for “Nicotine use.” If on your application you said you were a non-smoker, the insurance company will see that as a discrepancy. To find out more about your nicotine history, they will have to use that code to ask the “originator” of the information (your past physician) to release more details: what year you reported smoking, under what circumstances, what frequency, etc…
Why should you check the MIB
As a report that can affect your rates on a variety of insurance premiums, it is important for you to check your records every once in a while to ensure accuracy. In the same way as you should check your credit report to make sure your credit score is as accurate as possible (and that no one stole your identity), you should check your MIB report.
If you think your medical history might contain factors affecting your rate, you should check your MIB records.
If you’ve been denied coverage for life insurance, you should check your MIB report.
If your rates/premiums for life insurance were affected by a medical condition, or something find on your MIB report, you should check it so you know what is on there and how accurate it is.
(Medical underwriting is the process by which insurance companies evaluate your records and how much of a risk you represent).
Order Your Records with the MIB – Step By Step
The process is very easy,…. But very slow. Be patient.
Step 1: Go to the MIB’s website
Step 2: Select which option you want. You can request your records for free once a year as an individual. If you have already ordered your records once, and you’ve received a letter from your insurance company telling you that they found adverse information on your MIB, you can request an additional report for free, but you will have to furnish the letter from the insurance company.
Step 3: Enter your personal information
Step 4: Submit.
That’s it, pretty easy and painless, isn’t it?
… But now comes the waiting game.
If you choose the personal option in the US, you’ll then be taken to a screen asking you to wait 15 days for the MIB to send you documents to complete and mail back to them.
Check for these on your MIB report
Some of the things you want to check for:
- Any history or mention of nicotine
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Diseases or chronic conditions
- Driving records and DUIs
- And more..
If you believe you have some adverse rating factors, talk to a licensed insurance agent or broker in your state and let them know. Agents and brokers will be able to give you the best idea of what to expect, or what you can do to change and improve your rates. Also while life insurance companies are bound by the same laws in terms of what qualifies or disqualifies an applicant, different may weight different conditions differently.
For example, while some companies require 2 years of non-smoking for a preferred non-nicotine rate, others might require 3 years.
If you think there is an error, contact the MIB to let them know. There might me an error, or someone may have stolen your medical identity (yes, that’s a real thing!).
Should You hide Medical information from your agent
Finally, please remember that not disclosing information to your agent only delays the process. Agents are NOT the ones choosing your rates and premiums. Life agents are here to discuss the best type of plans and coverage for your situation, give you as good an idea of what to expect as possible, and to facilitate the application process while making sure you fully understand what you are applying for.
Medical underwriters are the one deciding on your final rates. Being honest with your agents will help your agent give you a best estimate of what your final rates might look like, so that you can make the best decision for yourself.