The Wright Perspective℠
Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠
A Blog by Gary Wright II
Think your medical records are private? You haven't heard of the MIB!
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Most of us like to think that our medical records are kept private. Legislation such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) create a false sense of security, since there are so many loopholes in the law.
Whenever you apply for life or health insurance, there is usually a disclaimer hidden in the fine print regarding the MIB.
The MIB is the "Medical Information Bureau" which maintains a central database that it shares with over 600 insurance firms.
They skirt around HIPAA by using over 230 "codes" to represent "specific medical conditions and lifestyle choices."
You may have been denied coverage because of the MIB records, and most people have never heard of it. A coverage decision is not supposed to be based upon your MIB report - but let's be realistic.
You can choose not to share your health information, but you really have no choice if you want insurance.
I think this type of "blacklisting" people should be illegal. They say the purpose of the database is to fight insurance fraud, but like the credit bureaus, there should be clear directions on how to obtain your reports and be able to correct information that is wrong. The codes for "lifestyle choices" is another invasion of privacy. Should someone who went skydiving once be considered a high-risk for the rest of their life?
The insurance companies already have enough disclaimers written in the policy to protect their interests.
Personally, I would like to see the MIB go away and all cooperating insurance companies should be "outed" for sharing personal information without clearly informing the consumer what data is collected, who it is shared with, and exactly how the information is going to be used.
I think it should be illegal to force consumers to "opt-out", the information should never be shared unless the consumer "opts-in." Sharing info by default is a sleazy way to do business.
If you want to know what information is contained in your records, here is the contact info for MIB:
P.O. Box 105
Boston, MA 02112