The Medical Information Bureau (MIB) is a database used by most life and health insurance companies in the United States to check and verify the medical information provided by applicants.
A staple of the life insurance application process is undergoing a background check to verify the information you provided in your application.
One specific area they look at is your medical history.
Because medical history is one of the most important factors in assessing your overall risk, life insurance providers take extensive measures to ensure your information is accurate, including looking at reports from the MIB.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Medical Information Bureau as it pertains to buying life insurance.
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The Medical Information Bureau is an organization, specifically a membership corporation, who collects information about health and life insurance applicants.
The goal of the organization is to assist with the underwriting process by providing a means to verify the information provided in health and life insurance applications.
Over time, the MIB and the information they provide has become the standard used by life insurance companies to assess risk when assigning rating classes to new clients.
The key benefit of the MIB is highlighting application errors.
The database runs a check on a new application against other information that already exists on the applicant from previous forms, entries, or applications.
Any errors, mistakes, or omissions are then highlighted, and additional information is provided for the life insurance underwriters to review more closely.
Not only does the MIB ensure the accuracy of life insurance applications, it’s also a time-efficient and cost-effective method of checking medical records.
In this way, the MIB is largely responsible for keeping life insurance costs affordable.
The benefits the MIB provides to life insurance companies are enormous and include:
- Information verification: The MIB helps insurance companies complete background checks by verifying information on all new clients.
- Time and money savings: MIB reports are such an effective cost- and time-saving tool that life insurance providers are able to pass the savings onto clients through lower rates.
- Uncovering falsified applications: The MIB has made it much easier for insurance providers to find out if a client has misrepresented their medical history on their application.
Not telling the whole truth about your medical history might seem like a good idea at first. You might not think it’s possible for a life insurance company to actually verify your medical history, such as whether or not you use tobacco.
However, the MIB has made it much easier to make these verifications, giving life insurance companies the tools they need to accurately verify this information in a timely manner.
Look at it this way: your life insurance application will ask you a variety of medical questions to better understand your overall health, lifestyle, and any medical conditions you have.
Unfortunately, some people aren’t honest on their applications. Either they are embarrassed about certain information or wish to receive lower rates, so they leave it off or misrepresent this information.
Being dishonest on a life insurance application has no benefits. You more than likely will be caught, and this will result in being denied coverage.
If you are denied coverage by one provider, this becomes common knowledge within the life insurance industry, so you’ll have a difficult time finding coverage from any provider from here on out.
Now that you know what the MIB actually is, and why it’s so important, you should understand a little about how it works.
Namely, how does the Medical Information Bureau actually track information on health and life insurance applicants?
Keep in mind that the MIB doesn’t have access to personal, confidential medical information you’ve provided to your doctor and other medical professionals.
Instead, it contains only the information you’ve shared with insurance companies, whether on health or life insurance applications.
It also includes information discovered by underwriters. If an underwriter finds out you had a surgery, notes of this surgery appear in your MIB report.
Whenever you apply to a new health or life insurance provider, both the information in your application and any additional information they discover is now included in your MIB report.
In this way, your MIB report is constantly being updated, so it includes only the most accurate information.
After learning about the Medical Information Bureau and what it does, many people are interested to know if they can view their own report.
Though MIB is a membership corporation who can only be used by health and life insurance company members, individual reports can, contrary to popular opinion, be viewed by clients.
However, you’ll only have a file with the MIB if you’ve applied for life insurance within the past few years.
As mentioned above, the MIB doesn’t compile information outside of life or health insurance applications. The information contained is only from these reports.
To view your report (if you have one), you can contact the MIB directly to view any information they have on you for free.
Another great way the MIB can be used is to find a lost life insurance policy.
If you know a deceased loved one had a life insurance policy, but you don’t have the documents to prove it, the MIB can help.
Of course, the best way to find a lost life insurance policy is to contact the life insurance company or agent directly. But sometimes you don’t even know the company or agent’s name.
In this case, the MIB policy locator tool can be of help. It will search their databases to see if the deceased applied for health or life insurance in the last seven years.
Of course, the policy locator isn’t foolproof. It won’t find a lost life insurance policy 100% of the time.
But it’s a good option for those that have struck out in other areas of their search.