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The world of health insurance can be daunting, with unfamiliar terms that sound as though they are designed to confuse you. While it might seem easier to simply guess the best policy for you, taking time to understand the different benefits between policies can stand you in excellent stead in the event of making a claim.
One of the questions we are frequently asked is: what’s the difference between moratorium health insurance and full medical underwriting? Let us explain!
Do I need health insurance?
Health insurance is a good idea if you’re concerned about hospital waiting lists or the thought of having an accident and not receiving the right care. Also known as private medical insurance (PMI), it can give you access to faster treatment and the best consultants - often closer to home - and help you get back on your feet sooner following an illness or injury.
What is moratorium health insurance?
The majority of health insurance policies are underwritten on a moratorium (MORI) basis. There is no need for a medical examination or for the policyholder to disclose a full medical history, although you must give details of any conditions you have at the time of applying or in the previous five years.
MORI policies are usually offered on a ‘rolling’ basis. The cover excludes any condition you have sought advice for in the last five years, with the exclusions applying for the first two years of the policy. Rolling moratorium means that, after this time, if no further symptoms have occurred, you will be covered for the condition in question.
You might be able to get ‘fixed’ moratorium health insurance. This means that, even if you seek further medical advice for the excluded condition within the two years following the policy being taken out, cover for the condition will be included at the end of the two years. Fixed MORI policies are rarer, however, and you’re unlikely to find this type of cover for serious conditions such as cancer and heart issues.
What is full medical underwriting health insurance?
Full medical underwriting (FMU) requires a medical declaration about your past health, with pre-existing conditions and related issues excluded from the cover unless expressly agreed with your insurance provider. The insurer might contact your GP or other health professionals to find out more about any of the answers you give in the questionnaire. Any exclusions made on the basis of your answers must be listed on your schedule of cover.
Exclusions are usually permanent - in other words, the cover is not added after the two-year timeframe - although, in the case of minor illnesses, it is sometimes possible to negotiate inclusion. It’s essential that you disclose all information that you’re asked for, otherwise your policy might be invalid.
Which is the best health insurance, moratorium or full medical underwriting?
Whether MORI or FMU health insurance is right for you depends on your personal circumstances and the types of medical condition you have at the moment or have had in the past. It’s important to note that neither option offers cover for a condition you currently have.
MORI tends to be cheaper and is often quicker to put in place. It offers the reassurance that, as long as you’re symptom-free of any excluded condition for two years, then cover will begin in the third year of your policy.
However, one of the reasons it’s quicker is that blanket decisions are applied. If you’ve had a condition, it’s automatically excluded - even if it was a minor illness four years ago that hasn’t left you with any effects.
FMU tends to be more expensive, and some customers are uncomfortable with the idea of giving details of illnesses or events that might have happened a long time ago. But these policies are also more flexible and tailored than MORI insurance. Whereas a MORI policy will automatically exclude a named condition, an underwriter considering a FMU application will make a decision based on your own personal circumstances.
If, for example, you have been treated for a minor illness within the last five years and have been left with no effects, the underwriter might allow for that condition to be included in your cover. This decision might vary from one FMU policy to another, which is why it’s important to shop around and compare health insurance to make sure you find the right policy for your own needs.
If you’re not sure which type of health insurance is best for you and would like to chat with our team, please give us a call for free on 029 2009 0721 and we’ll be able to go through everything with you.