Full Medical Underwriting Or Moratorium Health Insurance?

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10 mins

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:

  • Moratorium
  • Full Medical Underwriting.

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.

A Quick Video On Your Underwriting Options

Don’t have time to read this guide, but want an expert overview of your underwriting options? Our very own Alex Weir, explains the differences. Just press play. 👇

What is Moratorium Underwriting Health Insurance?

Moratorium underwriting is the most common type of medical underwriting for Health Insurance. It excludes most pre-existing conditions you’ve suffered from over a set period, usually the past 5 years.

However, under a moratorium you may find that the insurer will reconsider this exclusion once you serve 2 years on the policy without any advice, medication or treatment for that condition. This includes both self-funded private treatment or NHS treatment.

When Moratorium Underwriting Can Cover An Existing Condition

After a skiing injury, Mason was fully discharged from follow-ups 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.

Pros and Cons of Moratorium Medical Underwriting

Advantages of moratorium underwriting

  • Moratorium underwriting can speed up the implementation of your policy because you don’t usually have to fill in a health declaration.
  • If you haven’t suffered from any major health conditions in the past 5 years, moratorium underwriting means there’ll typically be no automatic exclusions.
  • If you do have any pre-existing conditions, you may be able to get coverage for them after a 2 year period on the policy.
  • The 5 year window means that historic medical conditions before this 5 year period will usually be covered.

Disadvantages Of Moratorium Underwriting

  • Even if you’ve only suffered from a minor health condition in the past 5 years, this will likely be automatically excluded with little chance for leeway from your insurer.
  • With moratorium underwriting, you may not be sure exactly what you’re covered for based on your past medical history until you try to claim.

Full Medical Underwriting Health Insurance

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.

Do I Need to Disclose My Medical History to Take Out Health Insurance?

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.

Nadeem Farid
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.

The Pros and Cons of Full Medical Underwriting

Advantages of full medical underwriting

  • Transparency – you know exactly what you will and won’t be covered for from the outset
  • You may be able to get coverage for conditions that have occurred during the past 5 years, especially if that condition is minor, subject to your insurer’s discretion

Disadvantages of full medical underwriting

  • It can take extra time to arrange a policy when it’s fully medically underwritten because of the health questionnaire and the possible need to write to your GP
  • If further down the line you want to examine having a medical exclusion removed from your policy with evidence from your GP, you may need to pay for these reports. However, there’s no guarantee that the insurer will accept your attempt to get the exclusion removed even after you’ve paid for the reports.

What is the Best Health Insurance Underwriting?

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.

The Best Medical Underwriting for Serious Conditions

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.

The Best Medical Underwriting for Minor Conditions

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.

The Best Medical Underwriting for Historic Conditions

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.

Getting Private Medical Insurance Advice

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.

Why Speak to Us…

We started Drewberry™ because we were tired of being treated like a number.

We all deserve a first class service when it comes to issues as important as protecting our health. Below are just a few reasons why it makes sense to talk to us.

  • There is no fee for our service
  • We are an award winning 🏆 independent insurance broker who works with all the leading UK insurers
  • You’ll speak to a dedicated expert from start to finish
  • We are very proud of the 3782 and growing independent client reviews rating us at 4.92 / 5
  • Claims support when you need it most.
  • We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. You can find us on the financial services register here 🧐
  • Claims support when you need it most.

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.

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Drewberry Ltd registered office: Telecom House, Preston Road, Brighton, England, BN1 6AF. Telephone 0208 432 7333

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