MIB Insurance Report: What You Need to Know & How to Get Free Copy
If you’re thinking about buying life insurance, you likely have lots of questions.
- Should I get a term life policy to cover me for a certain number of years?
- Or a permanent policy that will be in effect the rest of my life?
- How much insurance do I need?
- How much will a policy cost?
And the list goes on.
Life insurance companies, on the other hand, generally have only one key question:
- How long are you likely to live?
When you buy life insurance, you enter into a contract with an insurance company.
So, when insurance companies decide whether to insure you and how much they’ll charge for coverage, they want to know what the likelihood is that they will have to pay a death benefit.
To do that, they usually gather information about you -- one of which is your MIB insurance report, which contains your medical history.
To help you better understand how the life insurance-buying process works, here’s a rundown of how life insurance companies find out things about you.
The Insurance Underwriting Process
Insurance underwriting is a process that will include the following:
- A review of your life insurance application, which will generally include your completing health-related questions.
- Your personal medical records as reported by an organization known as MIB. It functions as something like a credit reporting agency, except the information involves your medical history. That could include information about major illnesses or injuries, hospital stays, prescription medications, doctor visits, tests performed, and treatments for any ongoing health conditions.
- The insurance company may require you to complete a medical exam, which will include taking blood and urine samples as well as measuring height, weight, and blood pressure.
The insurance underwriter will evaluate the information provided by the above sources.
The purpose of collecting information from multiple sources – including the applicant – is to identify any information that may not appear on one or more of the other sources.
For example, either the medical exam or the MIB report may identify certain health conditions that you do not indicate on your application.
Alternatively, you may disclose a health condition on the application that does not show up in either the MIB or the medical exam.
Underwriting will use this information to determine risk factors in your health profile that may hold clues about how long you’re likely to live.
However, even if they determine your lifespan may be shorter than normal for your age, you may still be offered a policy, but with an increased premium rate.
How to Request Your Free Report From MIB
As you can see from the above, the MIB report is a critical component of the life insurance underwriting decision.
MIB is a membership corporation owned by about 500 insurance companies in the US and Canada.
They maintain health records on tens of millions of American and Canadian citizens, which are routinely accessed by participating insurance companies for underwriting purposes.
From the standpoint of your health, and any application you make for life insurance (and certain other types of coverage), you can see that the MIB is as important on a personal level as your credit report is to your credit standing and finances. For that reason, you should know what your MIB report contains.
There’s a possibility it includes information that’s not accurate, which you may want to challenge. To do that, you’ll need to get a copy of your MIB report.
The official name of the MIB report is the MIB Underwriting Services Consumer File. Since MIB is a nationwide specialty consumer reporting agency, it is subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). That means they are required to provide you with rights, protections and privileges available under the law.
For that reason, you can request a copy of your file once each year, free of charge.
However, be aware that you will only be eligible to receive a copy of the report if it contains information. If no information is on file, no report can be provided.
There may be no report if you are young, very healthy and have never used the health care system or have not used the health care system or applied for insurance or disability in the past seven years.
You’ll be able to request a copy of your report either by phone (1-866-692-6901) or by completing the online form.
Whichever way you request the report, you’ll be asked a series of questions designed to determine your qualification and your identity to receive the report.
Be aware that you may only request your own report, and not anyone else’s except under very limited circumstances.
What Should I Expect to Receive from MIB?
Once requested, your MIB report will be sent to you by mail.
However, if there is no report, you’ll receive a letter saying only “no record”.
The MIB Underwriting Services Consumer File, once received, will include any medical or personal information in the MIB database as of the date of your request.
Each piece of information included in the report also names the MIB member (insurance) company that reported the information, as well as the date it was reported.
It will also include the name of any MIB member company that:
- Received a copy of the medical and personal information that the MIB has in its database about you during either a three-year period preceding your request (US consumers), or two years for Canadian consumers;
- Have made an inquiry to MIB about you within the past two years; and
- Have received a copy of a record showing the dates that other member companies made inquiries about you during either a three-year period preceding your request for US consumers, or a two-year period for Canadian consumers.
If you previously applied for disability income insurance through an MIB member that subscribes to the MIBs Disability Insurance Records System (“DIRS”), this member may have reported information about the disability benefits for which you applied and the amount of coverage you already had in force within the past five years
How to Read a MIB Underwriting Services Consumer File
If you’ve ever read a copy of your credit report, you’re aware that they make extensive use of coding.
MIB reports do much the same, except they translate those codes into a readable form.
That’s good news for consumers since MIB has hundreds of codes used to loosely describe medical events and conditions.
However, you should be aware that there are more than 68,000 codes used by health plans and healthcare providers.
Since MIB uses less than 1% of these codes, health conditions are commonly lumped together under a single summary code.
Unfortunately, the use of codes prevents MIB from reporting complete details about your medical conditions. This may leave some room for interpretation.
To be accurate and complete, the translated codes must:
- fairly and reasonably present your medical conditions to an underwriter or medical director, and
- lead the reviewer to obtain medical records and other information – including attending physician statements and lab tests – from which they can then make an equitable underwriting decision.
Put another way, the information contained in your MIB Underwriting Services Consumer File is only a starting point for an insurance company reviewing information for your life insurance application.
Based on the codes, the insurance companies must then get more detailed information directly from the healthcare providers.
Just as you should review your credit report at least annually, you should do the same with your MIB Underwriting Services Consumer File.
The best time to review the report is when you are not applying for life insurance.
That will give you an opportunity to identify any errors, and dispute them before the time comes when you will need to apply.
How to Dispute Your MIB Consumer File
According to MIB, no more than 1% to 2% of all MIB Underwriting Services Consumer Files provided need to be corrected for inaccurate information.
But if inaccurate information is revealed on a report, MIB offers what they consider to be an effective reinvestigation process that’s consistent with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
If you receive your report and determine any of the information to be inaccurate or incomplete, you can request a reinvestigation by contacting the MIB Disclosure Office.
This can be done in one of three ways:
- By email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- In writing for US residents at MIB Disclosure Office, 50 Braintree Hill Park, Suite 400, Braintree, MA 02184.
- In writing for Canadian residents at MIB Disclosure Office, 330 University Ave., Suite 501, Toronto, Canada M5G 1R7.
The email or letter you will send will be a Request for Reinvestigation, and requires the following information:
- Your full name, including middle initial and any suffixes, like JR, SR, II or III.
- Your complete home address.
- Date of birth.
- Place of birth.
- Your Social Security Number or Social Identification Number (Canada).
You’ll then need to list each item on your MIB Underwriting Services Consumer File that you believe to be either inaccurate or incomplete.
You’ll also need to provide the specific reasons why the information is incorrect.
The more details you can provide, including documentation (such as medical records), the more likely your request is to be completed to your satisfaction.
MIB will act on your request within 45 days of receipt. Also, be aware that there is no charge for submitting a dispute request.
An MIB Underwriting Services Consumer File is every bit as important in connection with your health records as your credit report is to your credit standing and finances.
You should plan on requesting a copy, especially since it can be acquired free of charge.
Just as is the case of credit reports, the MIB Underwriting Services Consumer File can contain errors.
After all, the healthcare coding process is incredibly complicated, increasing the likelihood of incorrect or incomplete entries. There may be information contained in your file that could prevent you from being approved for a life insurance policy sometime in the future.
The best time to address inaccuracies is before you’re applying for coverage.
Get those mistakes cleaned up in advance, and your life insurance application will be more likely to be approved.