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Medical Underwriting Explained

Here is an overview of the underwriting methods available with Freedom Health Insurance.

About Medical Underwriting

’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 policy by identifying and excluding pre-existing medical conditions.

What is a pre-existing medical condition?

As with any type of insurance policy, we only provide cover for unexpected new 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 with us started. This means any medical condition (including symptoms and undiagnosed conditions and other related conditions) that you experienced in the five years before your cover with us started will not be covered unless we have agreed to provide cover for that medical condition.

The two most common types of underwriting used to identify pre-existing medical conditions are ‘moratorium underwriting’ and ‘full medical underwriting’.

Moratorium underwriting

With moratorium underwriting, your health insurance policy automatically excludes all pre-existing medical conditions which you 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 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 the personal 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.

Full medical underwriting

With full medical underwriting, you will be asked a series of questions about your medical history. You will 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.

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.

Choosing this method of 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.

By applying online, we will automatically use moratorium underwriting for your policy. 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)

In 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 usually offers this type of underwriting for corporate policies and it is not available for individual policies. Please contact us if you want to discuss this.

Are you thinking of switching your health insurance plan to us? Read more below and get a quick online quote!

Are you switching from another insurer?

If you already have a health insurance policy, but want to switch to Freedom Health Insurance, you can usually do so without losing your cover, depending on the type of underwriting you currently hold.

If you are interested in switching your health insurance policy from your current provider to Freedom Health Insurance, we will ask you some questions about whether you have any ongoing claims or planned treatment or if you have a particularly serious medical condition. If you answer ‘yes’ to these questions, we may not be able to offer switch underwriting terms without placing additional restrictions on your cover.

Switch moratorium underwriting

If you already have an insurance policy with moratorium underwriting through another insurance provider and want to switch to us, then you may be able to do so under switch moratorium underwriting if you are under 71 years old.

Switch moratorium means that once you move to us, we will take over the remaining moratorium. Once you complete the 2-year moratorium period symptom-free, treatment-free and advice-free for a specific pre-existing condition, you could potentially get this covered.

Continued personal medical exclusions

Continued personal medical exclusions is a type of underwriting designed for people who already have a fully underwritten health insurance policy with another insurer and want to switch to us. You have to be under 71 years old to be able to switch.

Your policy can be set up to continue your existing cover and we will carry on with any existing personal medical exclusions applied to your previous policy and other new exclusions may be added. A copy of your previous health insurance certificate is needed when you apply.

Important note about transferring cover from a previous insurer

If you transfer to a Freedom policy from another insurer, remember that the rules and benefits of our policy may be different from those of the previous policy.

Transferring to us does not mean you can claim the same benefits as those on the previous policy and we do not guarantee we will continue to pay for treatment that started, and may have already been paid for, under a previous policy.

You must call the claims helpline before receiving any further medical treatment to make sure you are covered by your new Freedom policy.