What You Need to Know About Switching Private Medical Insurance

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14-04-2020

Health Insurance pays for medical treatment in a private hospital setting. In exchange for regular premiums, you’re entitled to private medical care for acute conditions in some of the UK’s leading private hospitals.

Health Insurance is an annually renewable policy, just like cover such as Car Insurance and Home Insurance, and you’ll therefore receive communication at the end of each policy year regarding what your premiums will be and what you’ll be covered for going forward.

Considering switching your Private Health Insurance?

Given that Private Health Insurance is an annually renewable policy, the price will change year-on-year.

Prices will most likely move upwards modestly each year in line with your age as well as medical inflation. Medical inflation reflects the increased cost of providing healthcare each year as prices rise for everything from healthcare professionals’ wages to the cost of cutting edge technology and drugs, some of which are so pricey they’re not even available on the NHS.

Claims affect your monthly premium
Another big factor that will impact how much you’ll pay for your Health Insurance each year is any claims you make on the policy.

Policies have a no claims discount, which means you may even see prices fall if you have gone many years without making a claim. On the other hand, if you claim, the cost of your Health Insurance will rise as a result of the claim.

This is especially true if you make make particularly expensive claims, such as for cancer or heart issues, or are receiving ongoing treatment at the time of the policy’s renewal.

Can I Get a Better Deal by Switching My Health Insurance?

If you find that your policy has increased in price significantly over the past few years and you’re looking to remedy this, then one option may be to switch providers.

Switching your Private Medical Insurance policy needs to be done with great care and ideally handled by an expert rather than something you do alone, especially if you’ve seen a price increase due to recent medical treatment.

The last thing you want to do is lose coverage that you may end up needing in the future, so it’s best to discuss your situation and your policy with an expert first who can provide regulated advice.

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Can I Change Health Insurance Providers?

Yes, it’s possible to switch Health Insurance companies, just as it is with other policies such as Home Insurance or Car Insurance.

You might look to switch if you’ve experienced a rise in the cost of cover due to your age or medical inflation and are seeking a better deal.

Also, the Health Insurance market is changing all the time, with policies undergoing innovation and regeneration constantly. You may look to move Health Insurance to another provider which has widened its scope of cover since you last searched the market.

It becomes much trickier to switch providers, however, if you’ve experienced a claim. This is especially the case for major claims such as for cancer and heart problems. If you’re having ongoing treatment, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to switch at all.

Important! Think carefully before switching Health Insurance…
The first thing you should do if you are considering switching is discussing your options with an adviser to check whether it’s the best option given your circumstances.

Even if it could secure lower premiums, it might reduce your cover compared to what you have currently due to any conditions you’ve experienced on your current policy being excluded as ‘pre-existing’.

The Underwriting Needed to Switch Health Insurance

If you have suffered a medical condition whilst with your current insurer you’ll need to secure a specific type of underwriting known as ‘Continuing Personal Medical Exclusions’ (CPME) to switch insurer without the condition impacting what would be covered on your new policy.

With CPME underwriting, rather than having all of your medical history reassessed by your new insurer, you can keep the same level of cover your old policy had, porting it over to your new provider.

Your new policy will have all of the same exclusions as your old policy had at the outset, but there won’t usually be any new exclusions added based on the conditions you’ve experienced while on the old policy.

Note that it’s not always possible to switch providers if you’re claiming currently on your policy or you’ve had a recent history of medical issues that have been costly to treat.

Joe Toft, health & wellbeing expert at Drewberry

If you have been refused CPME terms when trying to switch your health insurance you may need to serve a set period with your current insurer without having any further treatment before a new insurer will consider offering terms.

Joe Toft
Health & Wellbeing Expert at Drewberry

To apply for Medical Insurance on a CPME basis, you’ll need…

  • The most recent copy of your current Private Medical Insurance policy certificate.
  • Information about any claims that you made on your last Health Insurance policy.
  • Basic information about your medical history.

Your new insurer will likely ask you to provide some basic medical information as well as ask you about any claims that you have made on your old policy.

While your new insurer won’t typically use your medical history to underwrite your new policy, it is necessary for you to give this information in order for your insurer to decide whether they will be able to give you a new policy on the same terms as your old one.

As the terms of your policy will have changed when switching to a new provider, you’ll need to examine your new policy carefully and make sure the new provider doesn’t have any standard exclusions that may cause an issue for you in the future.

Continued Moratorium Underwriting (CMORI)

An alternative to Continued Personal Medical Exclusions underwriting is continued moratorium (CMORI) underwriting, which is based on moratorium underwriting. This is opposed to CPME underwriting, which is based on full medical underwriting (read more on the difference between moratorium and full medical underwriting here).

Moratorium underwriting essentially means that, after 2 years on a Health Insurance policy without any advice, medication or treatment for a condition, the insurer will typically look to provide cover for that condition.

Note that while this occurs in the vast majority of situations, insurers will examine you on a case-by-case basis to determine whether that condition can be covered at the end of this 2 year window.

Continued Moratorium Example…

If you’re part way through a moratorium for a particular medical condition (say it’s been a year on your current Health Insurance policy without any advice, medication or treatment which means you have another year to go), then CMORI underwriting can mean you can continue that moratorium on a new policy.

So, if you’ve served 1 year on your initial policy, then CMORI underwriting could mean you’re able to serve out the rest of the moratorium (another year) on a new policy should you be seeking to switch providers.

Is a Health Insurance Switch Right for Me?

While many people can switch Health Insurance, whether or not you should depends on your circumstances.

If you’ve had a notable health condition while on your policy then switching providers may not be the right course of action. This is because you could lose valuable coverage you currently enjoy under your existing policy by doing so.

Ideally, you’d serve a period on your current policy where you have no advice, medication or treatment for that condition and then look to switch, at which point the new provider may take a view to cover the pre-existing condition.

Drew Nelson, Health & Wellbeing Expert at Drewberry

Switching providers can be a bit of a minefield. If you are considering your options and unsure what to do please don’t hesitate to pop us a call on 02074425880.

We’re here to help you make an informed decision based on your personal circumstances.

Drew Nelson
Health & Wellbeing Expert at Drewberry

Get Expert Advice on Moving Health Insurers

While moving Health Insurance providers can secure you better premiums, it’s something to be approached with caution if your recent price increases have been down to a claim or your personal health has changed whilst being insured under your current policy.

Why Speak to Us…

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 let us help.

  • There is no fee for our service
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  • You’ll speak to a dedicated expert from start to finish
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    You are protected. Where we provide a regulated advice service we are responsible for the policy we set-up for you. Doing it yourself or going direct to an insurer won’t provide this protection, so you won’t benefit from these securities.
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    You have support should you need to make a claim. The most important thing when it comes to insurance is that claims are paid and quickly. We are here to support you during the claims process and make sure it’s as smooth and stress free as possible.

I had a great experience with Drewberry, they have a lot of knowledge and expertise with life insurance and income protection and were able to advise me and arrange suitable products. Highly recommend.

Lachlan Mellings
12/08/2020
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