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At Get Private we provide expert advice and guidance on choosing the right private health insurance policy for you. With a friendly, approachable style, we ensure that all information given is clear and easy to understand. Here's a brief introduction to how insurers might underwrite your policy. But for a thorough appraisal, contact us now...

When taking out a policy for the first time, you will not normally be covered for any illness or pre-existing health conditions from which you are already suffering (pre-existing health conditions). However if you are currently insured, it may be possible to obtain a policy that includes cover for pre-existing health conditions on the following basis:

• Continued Personal Medical Exclusions (CPME)
This will potentially allow you to switch without declaring your medical history. If this form of underwriting is chosen the medical certificate from your previous insurer will be required. The underwriting that you started on your previous policy will continue on to your new policy. Therefore if you started the original policy on Moratorium underwriting the date it started will roll over on to the new continuation policy. However, if you previously declared your medical history and exclusion(s) applied to the original policy will then continue on to the new policy. Companies will vary on terms of switching so please read the policy wording for the definition.

• Moratorium
If you choose this type of underwriting the insurer would not initially require any details of your past medical history. However, while moratorium terms may vary between providers you would likely be subject to the following statement "In the first two years of your membership you would not be able to claim for any pre-existing health condition(s) that you have known about, sought advice for or taken medication for in the five years prior to your commencement date. However, after two years of continuous membership, you may be eligible to claim for any condition(s) that you have not had any symptoms of, sought advice for or taken medication for, for two clear and trouble free years"

Guidance

Under a Group policy, if you don't want to ask your employees about their medical history, you can choose a moratorium underwriting option. When they join your company plan, they don't need to fill in a full medical questionnaire. So, it's quick and easy to apply and they are covered straight away. Because insurers don't initially look at their medical history, they will tell them whether they are covered at the time they make a claim.

• Full Medical Underwriting
This requires you to complete an application form detailing your medical history. You must mention all relevant pre-existing health conditions and the company will then issue a policy document showing any conditions that are excluded from cover.

• Medical History Disregarded (MHD)
This option may be available for Group Schemes, usually with upwards of 30 employees, where you don't want any medical exclusions applied to your employees' cover.