Full Medical Underwriting or Moratorium Health Insurance

20 July 2022

Taking the time to understand the difference between medical underwriting policies is important so you’ll know exactly what you are covered for.

International health insurance can be a daunting decision for many people. There are a lot of factors that you'll need to take into account before deciding which type of insurance is right for you, and what type of medical underwriting to choose. 

Health insurers use the process of medical underwriting to decide the cost of a premium and the terms to offer with an insurance plan, based on known or anticipated medical needs.

There are two main types of medical underwriting, Moratorium – which is a relatively simple process, and Full Medical Underwriting, a more in-depth analysis of your medical health. And depending on which one you choose, it will have important implications for what your policy will cover and how much it will cost.

A moratorium sets out a waiting period for pre-existing medical conditions, excluding them over a period of two years, but then certain conditions may be covered after that.

The main advantages of moratorium underwriting are that it is quicker to set-up and  hassle-free as there are no medical forms to complete. A moratorium also takes the recurrence of an illness into account, allowing for more flexibility in the coverage. It offers the reassurance that, as long as you’re symptom-free, and have not needed any treatment or medical advice for a pre-existing 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 medical condition, it’s automatically excluded at least for the first 24 months of your policy.

Full Medical Underwriting is the process that we use to assess your medical history to decide the special terms that we are prepared to offer. With this option, you will have to disclose your medical history to us and based on the information you declare, we will advise you at the outset if there are any specific exclusions that will apply to your cover.

The advantage of full medical underwriting is that you may be able to get cover for a pre-existing medical condition that would normally be excluded through a moratorium, giving you the peace of mind that you will be able to undergo treatment for that condition. And even if your pre-existing condition is excluded from cover, you'll know from the outset what you can and can't claim for. So there'll be no nasty surprises, giving you the opportunity to financially plan for any treatment you may need.

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

  • It’s quicker to set up and hassle-free.
  • You won't need to tell us about pre-existing conditions to be covered when you apply.
  • There will be a 24 months waiting period before claims for any pre-existing medical conditions may become eligible.
  • Pre-existing conditions may be covered, provided you have been free of symptoms and treatment for 24 months after the start date of your plan. Some medical conditions may never be covered under a rolling moratorium, even after the waiting period.
  • The claims process may be longer as each time we receive a claim, we'll look at your medical history. We may also ask for additional information to understand if the symptom or condition is new or pre-existing. 
  • It’s most suitable for individuals or groups where members have no pre-existing conditions.
  • This option is available to individuals or groups with 3 to 9 policies.
  • Availability is dependent on geographical location and the relevant local country regulations in place.
  • It takes longer to set up.
  • You’ll be asked to complete a medical questionnaire for each person to be covered, disclosing any pre-existing conditions when you apply.
  • There may be a surcharge or an exclusion for a pre-existing condition
  • You will know exactly what will and won’t be covered from the start of your policy.
  • Pre-existing conditions may be covered that would be excluded through a moratorium.
  • Any special terms that have to be applied will be shown on your certificate of insurance.
  • The claims process is shorter because we already know if pre-existing conditions are covered.
  • It’s most suitable for individuals or groups where members have a pre-existing condition.
  • This option is available to individuals or groups with 3 to 9 policies.


Knowing which type of underwriting will benefit you most depends on your personal circumstances and your medical history – what types of medical condition you have at the moment or have had in the past.  

Moratorium policies work best for people who are in good health, or have a good medical record for the past five years, want to speed up the underwriting process and have older medical conditions.

Choosing full medical underwriting means that you will know exactly what will and won’t be covered from the start of your policy, giving you certainty and a clear understanding of your health insurance policy. 

If you’re still not sure which option to choose when taking out health Insurance, then talking it over with one of our experts could help.

Talk to our Sales Support Team or organise a call back. We will be happy to discuss the best solution based on your requirements.