One of the biggest factors to consider if you’re looking into buying Private Health Insurance is the type of underwriting you choose.
The two main types available are
These are two very different approaches to underwriting and will considerably impact what your Health Insurance covers you for.
The underwriting process could see the insurer put exclusions on health conditions you’re already suffering from and sometimes those you’ve suffered from in the past.
Unfortunately, neither type of underwriting will allow you coverage for a condition you’re currently suffering from or receiving treatment for. However, if that condition subsides for long enough to satisfy the insurer’s terms, you may be able to get coverage later on.
Moratorium underwriting excludes most pre-existing medical conditions you’ve suffered from over a set period, usually the past 5 years.
Moratorium underwriting is the most common type of medical underwriting for Health Insurance is divided into plans underwritten on a rolling moratorium or a fixed moratorium basis.
The vast majority of Health Insurance is written on a rolling moratorium basis.
Rolling moratorium underwriting means the insurer will consider any claims for medical conditions that you’ve suffered from in the 5 years before taking out the policy, providing you’ve served 2 years on the policy without any advice, medication or treatment for that condition.
This includes both self-funded private treatment or NHS treatment.
After a skiing injury, Mason was fully discharged from followups after shoulder surgery the year before taking out cover. For the next 3 years on the policy Mason was fine and required no further advice, treatment or medication, but then had a sudden relapse.
In this case under a rolling moratorium the insurer would most likely pay for treatment as Mason hadn’t needed to seek medical advice for 3 years after taking out her cover.
Fixed moratorium underwriting is a more lenient type of underwriting that rolling moratorium underwriting.
It still excludes any medical conditions you’ve suffered from in the 5 years leading up to the policy start date.
However, once you’ve served 2 years on the policy, the insurer will then consider covering you for that condition – regardless of whether you’ve received treatment for that condition or not over those 2 years.
It’s important to realise that often the most serious conditions – such as cardiac and cancer cases – are unlikely to be eligible for fixed moratorium underwriting.
Only one insurer still uses fixed moratorium underwriting for its Medical Insurance, however.
After injuring her knee a year before taking out Health Insurance, Amy had an arthroscopy to repair damaged cartilage. In the first two years of having Medical Insurance, Amy visited an NHS physiotherapist and her GP for follow-up treatment and advice.
Under a fixed moratorium, despite having needed treatment in the first two years of the policy, the insurer would consider covering her knee condition.
Buying fully medically underwritten Health Insurance means you disclose your entire medical history to the insurer from the start.
This lets your insurer take your health into consideration when deciding how to provide you with cover.
Yes, if you opt for full medical underwriting then you’ll need to fill out a health questionnaire to buy Medical Insurance.
You provide your medical history through a health declaration form, which will ask a set of questions about your health and previous medical conditions.
Depending on what comes up on the form, the insurer might write to your GP for further evidence of your medical history to back up the underwriting.
Any disclosures on the health declaration form or that later come up if the insurer decides to write out for your medical history will result in an exclusion for that condition.
It’s essential that you’re upfront and honest with your insurer when you’re filling in the health declaration form.
Any failure to disclose a pre-existing condition, even if you think it’s not worth putting down, could lead to your Health Insurance provider pulling coverage later down the line on the grounds of the non-disclosure.
Head of Employee Benefits at Drewberry
With full medical underwriting, any serious condition you’ve suffered from in the past will likely be excluded, even if it occurred more than 5 years ago.
This exclusion will usually be permanent, although it may be possible to get it lifted at a later date with medical evidence from your GP.
For more minor conditions, however, you may be able to negotiate coverage with your insurer, particularly if that condition occurred a number of years ago.
Now you understand the difference between full medical underwriting and moratorium underwriting, you’ll have to consider which is the best health insurance underwriting for you.
If you’ve recovered from a serious medical condition in the past 5 years, it may be better to opt for moratorium underwriting.
That’s because after 2 years on the policy, the insurer will reassess your health and, providing you haven’t sought any advice, medication or treatment for that condition in those 2 years, potentially look in to covering you.
With full medical underwriting, on the other hand, this serious condition is likely to face an ongoing exclusion, even if you suffered from it more than 5 years ago.
It can be very tricky to get an exclusion removed from a policy that’s used full medical underwriting at a later date.
If you’ve suffered from a minor condition in the past 5 years, then full medical underwriting may be better than moratorium underwriting.
This is because moratorium underwriting will put an exclusion on most medical conditions you’ve suffered in the past 5 years regardless of severity.
However, when an insurer examines your medical history during the full medical underwriting process they may deem the condition to be minor enough for them to offer you cover for it regardless.
If you’ve suffered from a medical condition more than 5 years ago, then moratorium underwriting is likely better than full medical underwriting.
This is because moratorium underwriting only looks at conditions you’ve suffered in the past 5 years.
Full medical underwriting, on the other hand, will go back through your entire medical history and may put exclusions on policies you’ve suffered historically, even if you’ve not had any symptoms for some time.
If you’re still not sure which option to pick when taking out Private Medical Insurance, then talking it over with one of our experts could help.
They will listen to your concerns and take a basic medical history from you before using their experience and expertise to help you decide which medical underwriting is most suitable for you.
We started Drewberry because we were tired of being treated like a number and not getting the service we all deserve when it comes to things as important as protecting our health and our finances. Below are just a few reasons why it makes sense to talk to us.
We are here to offer impartial and, most importantly, fee-free Health Insurance advice.
If you want to talk through your options to make sure you are looking at the most suitable cover then don’t hesitate to pop us a call on 02084327333.
Health & Wellbeing Expert at Drewberry
I had the pleasure of dealing with Jake Mills in organising my insurance. Jake was fantastic to deal with — his patience and understanding really helped.