What is medical underwriting?

Medical underwriting is the process that a health insurer uses to decide at what price and with which terms to offer its insurance plans, based on known or anticipated medical needs. 

Moratorium Underwriting

Moratorium underwriting sets out a waiting period for pre-existing medical conditions to limit risk to the insurer. This way insurers can do their utmost to keep premiums affordable for plan members. A moratorium will therefore exclude all pre-existing medical conditions for a set period, often two years, but may then cover the conditions after that. 

The main advantages to moratorium underwriting are that international health insurance plans are usually quick and simple to set-up and can be cheaper. However, you should carefully consider what medical conditions you have previously needed or received treatment for, or had signs or symptoms of in the past, and whether you would like to try and insure these conditions. 

The disadvantage of not fully understanding the restrictions of moratorium cover regarding pre-existing medical conditions is that you could find yourself undergoing expensive treatment for a medical condition that will not be covered by the insurer. 

Full Medical Underwriting (FMU)

With this underwriting type you would have to disclose medical history to the insurer and they would decide if they are able to offer cover for those medical conditions.

The advantage of FMU is that you may be able to get cover for a pre-existing medical condition that would normally be excluded through moratorium, giving you peace of mind that you will be able to undergo treatment for that condition. 

The disadvantages of FMU are that it can increase your insurance premiums and that enrolment can be a lengthy process, especially if you have family members on the same plan.