Medical Insurance and Pre-Existing Conditions
When people take out a UK medical insurance policy they often do so with a particular illness in mind that they want private treatment for. Unfortunately, health insurance is not designed to cover pre-existing conditions or conditions that are related to them.
What is a pre-existing condition?
A pre-existing condition is defined as any illness you have experienced symptoms of, or received medication, advice or treatment for, before the start of your policy- along with any other related conditions.
Luckily, depending on your policy, you might be able to regain cover for that condition in the future if your insurer thinks it is unlikely to return. This comes down to the method of underwriting you choose when taking out a policy.
When you take out medical insurance cover, you will have to choose your underwriting method. There are two main types of underwriting in the UK- full medical underwriting and moratorium- which may sound confusing at first.
Moratorium: Moratorium underwriting will exclude any pre-existing condition you have had in the past 5 years. But if you go two continuous years’ advice, symptom and treatment free, that condition will be covered again on your policy.
Full medical underwriting (FMU): Full medical underwriting requires you to declare your full medical history, and any pre-existing conditions will be excluded from cover. You will be made aware of these exclusions before you commit to the policy, and you could always ask you insurer to review the exclusion in the future.
There are some things that will never be covered by private medical insurance policy, such as sexually transmitted diseases, cosmetic surgery and conditions relating to drug or alcohol abuse.
Becky is a generally healthy woman but does suffer from repeated bouts of tonsillitis. She chooses a private medical insurance policy with moratorium underwriting, and the insurer excludes tonsillitis from the cover. However, Becky goes two years without suffering from the illness after taking out the policy. Her insurer decides to reinstate cover for tonsillitis, and when she develops the condition a year later she can get private treatment through her insurance.