How Does Medical Underwriting Work?
’Underwriting’ is a term used by health insurance providers to describe the way your medical and health information is used to evaluate your application for a private medical insurance policy by identifying and excluding pre-existing medical conditions.
What is a pre-existing medical condition?
As with any type of health insurance policy, we only provide cover for unexpected new medical events that first arise after the start of cover with us rather than for events that have already happened or can be predicted to happen. Therefore, in common with most, if not all, health insurance policies available in the UK, we do not cover pre-existing medical conditions.
A ‘pre-existing medical condition’ is a medical condition you had before your cover started. This means that any medical condition (including symptoms and undiagnosed conditions and other related conditions) that you experienced in the five years before your policy's start date will not be covered unless we have agreed to provide cover for that medical condition.
The two main methods insurers use to underwrite your application for private health insurance are moratorium underwriting and full medical underwriting. To help you better understand the benefits and drawbacks of each one, we have highlighted the key differences between them.
What is moratorium underwriting?
With moratorium underwriting, your health insurance policy automatically excludes all pre-existing medical conditions which you have experienced in the past five years. You don’t need to give us this information when you apply, but we will require it when you make a claim.
However, you might be able to get cover for a pre-existing medical condition if you do not experience a recurrence of that condition for a full, unbroken two-year period after the start date of your policy. This means no medical advice, no treatment, no medication and, most importantly, no symptoms. This two-year period is known as the moratorium period.
It is important to note that any pre-existing medical condition which needs regular treatment or medical advice, such as a chronic medical condition will never be covered as it’s unlikely you will get a full and unbroken two-year period with no recurrence.
Moratorium is one of the most common methods of underwriting because you don’t need to complete a health questionnaire, so the application process is quick and is usually accepted automatically and instantly. Another advantage of the moratorium is that you could be eligible to cover your pre-existing conditions after two years of joining if the conditions don't come back.
All new Freedom Health Insurance applications made through our online quote tool are offered on a moratorium basis. This is so we can offer you a quick and easy customer experience. If you wish to talk about a different method of underwriting, please contact us or speak to your broker.
Interested in a health insurance plan with moratorium underwriting? Get a private health insurance quote today.
Full medical underwriting
What does full medical underwriting mean?
Full medical underwriting is a type of underwriting method that requires you to disclose your medical history to your insurer at the point of application.
When you apply for health insurance, you will be asked a series of questions about your medical history and you have to give information about any medical conditions that you suffer from or had in the past. If you apply for more than one person, for example your family, you will need to provide their medical history too. In some cases, we may need to ask your GP for further information (with your permission).
We will then review this information and decide on your cover. Any past or existing medical conditions will usually be excluded from your policy, but you will be covered for any new, unconnected medical conditions arising after the start of your policy. All your specific exclusions will be shown on your certificate of insurance.
It is very important you answer all questions truthfully and completely, as doing otherwise can affect your future claims and may lead to your policy being cancelled. If you’re not sure if something is worth mentioning, it’s a good idea to put it down anyway to give you that extra reassurance.
Choosing full medical underwriting means that you will know exactly what will and what won’t be covered from the start date, giving you certainty and a clear understanding of your health insurance policy. However, this can be a more time-consuming process than moratorium underwriting because you will need to complete a health questionnaire and we may need to contact your GP for more information.
By applying online, we will automatically use moratorium underwriting for your policy as this process is quicker for our customers. If you are interested in full medical underwriting, or if you have any other questions, please contact us or your broker.
Medical history disregarded (MHD)
With this form of underwriting, your medical history is not taken into consideration and you can be covered even for pre-existing medical conditions. Freedom Health Insurance only offers this type of underwriting for corporate health insurance policies and is not available for individual policies. Please contact us if you want to discuss this.