how to access the medical information bureau

Most consumers are well aware of credit reporting agencies. They keep track of how well we pay our bills and manage our credit so lenders can decide whether to loan us the money we need for mortgages, car loans, credit cards and other credit devices.

But most consumer-patients are surprised to learn of the existence of a parallel reporting agency for the health industry, the Medical Information Bureau (MIB).

Originally established in 1902, it serves the information needs of almost 500 health and life insurance companies in North America that seek health, credit, and other information about those consumer-patients who request to be insured.

The purpose behind the MIB is to provide background information to its insurance company members so they can determine who they will accept for insurance, or who they will reject. According to the MIB, they collect information on only 15 to 20 percent of people who have applied for individual health or life insurance policies.

The MIB states its mission as “detecting and deterring fraud that may occur in the course of obtaining life, health, disability income, critical illness, and long-term care insurance.” Those savings, the MIB claims, help to lower premiums to insurance-buying consumers.

Considered by the government to be a consumer reporting agency, its services must adhere to the US Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act.

For consumer-patients, this means it must follow the same disclosure rules as the credit reporting agencies we are more familiar with. That means you are able to obtain copies of any reports they hold on you, and there is a procedure for disputing errors.