Turned Down for Long-Term Care Insurance? Better Check Your MIB File

Data in Your Medical Information Bureau File Could Be Inaccurate

If your application for long-term care insurance has been rejected, make sure your MIB file is accurate. Image © Klenger/Getty Images

Since the Affordable Care Act made health insurance guaranteed issue, people can’t be turned down when they apply for health insurance. However, the same doesn’t hold true for long-term care insurance.

Getting Turned Down for Long-Term Care Insurance

In the United States, insurance companies can put applicants for long-term care insurance through the underwriting process. This means you can be turned down for long-term care insurance or charged higher premiums if you present a higher risk to the insurer.

In fact, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, a trade association for long-term care planning professionals, 23% of applicants for long-term care insurance in their 60s are turned down.

It’s alarming and can feel like a slap in the face if you’re turned down for long-term care insurance. After all, insurance companies are in the business of selling insurance policies, why wouldn’t they want to sell one to you?

Generally, the reason you’re turned down for long-term care insurance is because the insurer determined that you present too high a risk to fit the profile of people they want to sell long-term care policies to. If this happens to you, but you feel that you don’t present a higher than average risk to a long-term care insurer, check your Medical Information Bureau file to make sure the information in it is accurate. Inaccurate information can influence the underwriting process and could lead to your application for long-term care insurance being rejected.

What Is the Medical Information Bureau?

Although it sounds like a medical library or educational resource, it’s not. Instead, the Medical Information Bureau maintains a database that insurance companies use when underwriting policies for long-term care insurance, life insurance, disability income insurance, and critical illness insurance.

Member insurance companies submit information to the MIB for inclusion in the database. When a member insurance company is evaluating your policy application, it can check (with your permission) the MIB database to see what information other member insurance companies have submitted about you. You generally grant your permission when you sign the long-term care insurance policy application which includes a statement authorizing the insurer to check your MIB database file.

The MIB might or might not have a file on you depending on whether or not you’ve applied for individually underwritten life, long-term care, health, or disability income insurance in the last seven years. However, if the MIB does have a file on you, member companies are able to access the information in that file and use it to help them determine the risk you might present if they were to sell you an insurance policy such as long-term care insurance.

How To Check Your File at the Medical Information Bureau

Similar to checking your credit report, the Fair Credit Reporting Act entitles you to check your file at the MIB for accuracy or just because you’re curious to know what information is available.

There is no charge to check your file for any reason once per year. Even if you’ve already received a free copy of your MIB file this year, you’re entitled to another free copy if you’ve been turned down for long-term care insurance and the insurer indicates that information in the MIB database influenced its decision.

Request your MIB file directly from the Medical Information Bureau at http://www.aaltci.org/ or by phone at 1-866-692-6901.

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