What is Moratorium Underwriting in Health Insurance?

Asking the definition of moratorium underwriting is one of the most common questions when applying for health insurance.

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Asking the definition of moratorium underwriting is one of the most common questions when applying for health insurance. The term isn’t self-explanatory and often confuses what it means in your private medical plan.

Moratorium underwriting loosely is the process that lays out the terms of your health insurance, excluding coverage for any pre-existing conditions you’ve had in the past 5-years.

This article will detail to help clarify the meaning of moratorium medical underwriting.

What is Medical Insurance Underwriting?

Before we break down the definition of moratorium underwriting, it’s essential to understand the basics. The reason is that the different types of medical insurance underwriting can be challenging to know without some foundational knowledge.

Medical insurance underwriting is a term used to define how insurers determine what degree of coverage you can have, either before purchasing health insurance or making a claim.

There are three general types of medical insurance underwriting, as outlined below:

  • Moratorium Underwriting
  • Full Medical Underwriting
  • Medical History Disregarded

The ‘medical history disregarded (MHD)’ category speaks for itself. It’s a type of underwriting where your entire medical history is irrelevant when purchasing health insurance – uncommon for individuals and often expensive when incorporated into plans.

In contrast to MHD underwriting, ‘full medical underwriting’ asks clients to disclose their complete health history before deciding eligible coverage on your health insurance plan.

The insurer will provide a form where clients must inform of any conditions they currently suffer from or have in the past. After analysis, they will decide what coverage they will offer from treatments.

That leaves the definition of moratorium underwriting, which is the focus of this article.

What is Moratorium Underwriting?

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The elementary definition of moratorium underwriting in private health insurance is that insurers won’t ask about your past health details. They focus on any recent treatments for recurring health issues or pre-existing conditions. They will exclude those from the insurance plan.

Insurers usually define ‘recent’ as 5-years. However, every provider has different definitions of years and moratorium underwriting in general. It is vital to understand how your prospective insurer defines it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Moratorium Underwriting

Considering that moratorium underwriting varies between insurers, it’s often the subject of confusion. Below, we outline and explain the most frequently asked questions about this type of medical underwriting.

How Does Moratorium Underwriting Affect My Health Insurance?

Moratorium underwriting often speeds up getting health insurance because it doesn’t look at a detailed medical history. It only takes an interest in the conditions you’ve been treated for in the last 5-years or so.

Suppose you haven’t suffered from any medical conditions in the past 5-years. In that case, private health insurance with moratorium underwriting will generally be cheaper, too.

What is Rolling Moratorium Medical Underwriting?

Pre-existing conditions are not part of your private medical insurance plan coverage. However, with rolling moratorium medical underwriting, these conditions may return to your policy.

The definition is that every 2-years, an insurer will review your policy to check if you’ve exhibited symptoms from your pre-existing conditions from that period. If you haven’t, then you’ll have treatment covered in your plan should they ever recur again.

How Does Moratorium Underwriting Affect My Pre-Existing Conditions?

As aforementioned, from the point of initial application, pre-existing conditions in the last 5-years will not have coverage in your health insurance plan.

However, suppose you’ve been healthy in the last 5-years or not had any severe illness treatments. In that case, pre-existing conditions are likely to have coverage in moratorium underwriting.

What Happens When I Make a Claim with Moratorium Medical Underwriting?

The insurer will ask for detailed information about your current ailment when making a claim. Your health insurance plan was with moratorium underwriting, and they do not have your medical history.

When you make a claim, the insurer will review it to ensure that it’s not related to any excluded pre-existing condition. If it is related, your doctor may have to issue a statement saying that treatment was unforeseen in given circumstances.

Is Health Insurance with Moratorium Underwriting Cheaper?

Generally, private medical insurance plans with moratorium underwriting will be less expensive than others—the reason being the exclusion of pre-existing conditions.

Again, pricing is at the insurer’s discretion and should discuss in detail before committing to a policy. Because it is cheaper than other plans, it often comes with the burden of complications when making a claim. We’ll explain in the advantages and disadvantages section below.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Moratorium Underwriting

Every health insurance plan comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Clients will often need to weigh up the pros and cons of private medical insurance before purchasing their policy.

Here, we’ll outline the advantages and disadvantages of plans with moratorium underwriting.


Advantages of moratorium underwriting include:

  • Simple application process – Insurers will issue you an application form that’s relatively quick and easy to complete. You won’t have to spend time filling out a detailed medical history.
  • The most affordable plan – Policies that provide moratorium underwriting will generally offer the least expensive premiums.
  • Accessibility – Nearly all health insurance providers will offer plans with moratorium underwriting so you won’t be short of options.
  • Great for healthy people – If you haven’t suffered any medical issues or have pre-existing conditions, you’ll enjoy coverage for any newly experienced symptoms.


The disadvantages of moratorium underwriting include:

  • Complexities – Policies with moratorium underwriting can be complicated to understand. Processing a claim may not be as straightforward as you’d prefer.
  • Claim forms – Any claim you process will need a detailed form explaining the condition. There can be delays, extra costs, and stress when trying to claim the insurer.
  • Disgruntlement – Private health insurance plans with moratorium underwriting get more complaints than any other. Because of the flexible nature of the policies, coverage often gets confused and can catch clients out when making claims.

Is Moratorium Underwriting Right for Me?

Weighing up the pros and cons, you’d probably be deciding if moratorium underwriting is the best option for you. Should you still need more information, insurance brokers would elaborate further on what moratorium medical underwriting for each private health insurance entails.

Ensure you have a clear and concise understanding of the concept before purchasing policies.