Difference between Moratorium and Full Medical Underwriting?

I’m about to apply for private health insurance but I’m not sure what the difference is between moratorium underwriting and full medical underwriting? Is it important?

Question asked by Stuart Grierson
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Answered by Tom Conner

Yes, it is very important to get this right! The method by which you take out cover can have a very large impact on what is actually covered in terms of possible exclusions due to past medical advice and treatment.

Definition of Moratorium Underwriting (MORI):

This method states that any medical condition for which you have sought medical advice for in the last five years would be automatically excluded.

Most insurers offer a ‘rolling moratorium’ and this usually means that if you do not need to seek medical advice for that (excluded) condition in the next two years then cover for that condition can be re-included in the policy.

A very small number of insurers offer what is called a ‘fixed moratorium’ and this usually means that even if you have sought medical advice for the (excluded) condition in the two year period after the policy was taken out the insurer will re-include cover after the two years is up.

Definition of Full Medical Underwriting (FMU):

With this method you would disclose any past medical conditions on the application and the insurer would decide if they are able to offer cover for those conditions or not (please note that different insurers may come back with different results).

If an exclusion is placed on the plan it is usually possible to have that exclusion reviewed at each policy renewal but you would need to pay for medical evidence to be provided from your doctor to support your argument that the past condition is no longer a problem.

Moratorium or Full Medical Underwriting?

This all comes down to the medical condition that you have suffered. With full underwriting any potentially serious medical conditions that you have experienced in the past (even if it was over five years ago) may be excluded. With a moratorium this would not be the case if you last had symptoms over five years ago.

On the flipside, with the moratorium method a medical consultation for something that may not have actually amounted to anything could potentially exclude a whole area of the body if it was within the last five years. Additionally, something seemingly minor like a short period of back pain four years ago would result in an exclusion. This is unlikely to be the case with full underwriting.

Speak to an independent health insurance broker

If you have seen the GP in the last five years then it is very wise to run through with an independent broker as the adviser can contact the underwriters at various insurers and establish which method of underwriting would benefit you most and which insurer is likely to offer you the most favourable terms.

If you do not have a broker please feel free to call us (01273 646 484) to run through with one of our expert advisers (who do this day-in, day-out).

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This information does not constitute financial or other professional advice. You should consult your professional adviser or contact us directly on 02084327333 should you require financial advice. It is important to ensure any insurance policy you take out is suitable for your needs.
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