By now, everyone is aware that there are three credit bureaus that sell your credit reports to companies that want to know how you handle your money.

However, according to a report by Consumers Digest in “Prescription for Health-Insurance Woes“, most consumers have no idea that there are also three health insurance bureaus, the Medical Information Bureau (MIB Group), Ingenix Inc. and Milliman Inc., that report on your health to insurance companies, which can then use the information to hike your premiums or deny you coverage.

In fact, the article reveals that each of these three insurance reporting agencies has different policies for collecting and storing information, and they hang on to it for 5 to 7 years, depending on the policy of the agency. Consumers Digest advises that you can try to combat premium hikes and coverage refusals, and perhaps reduce your costs, by checking your health report for errors. Insurance sales agents tell us that they have succeeded in reversing denials of coverage that resulted from errors or outdated information.

If you are applying for a new health insurance plan, you should curtail or postpone your use of nonessential prescription medication and medical procedures until you are accepted, advises Alex Maybaum of, which is an organization that seeks to improve privacy protections for personal medical information. That likely will help you to reduce your insurance costs, he says, because excessive use of nonessential prescription medications drives up the cost of policies.

“Underwriters also don’t like to see unfinished business on the applicant’s records,” warns Jan B. Sherman of, which provides advice on health-insurance benefits. So ask your doctor whether not-completed procedures are necessary and to note that in your medical records.

Read the full article, “Prescription (Rx) for Health-Insurance Woes” published by Consumers Digest in March 2011 at

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