• published on 12/8/2023
  • 4min

Guide to Medical Underwriting

Medical underwriting is an important part of the process of applying for private medical insurance. It involves assessing a person’s medical information to decide whether to accept an application for an insurance plan, as well as the terms.

Guide to Medical Underwriting

1. Different types of medical underwriting

2. Factors that can affect your health insurance premium

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This will include looking at a number of different factors, like your age, medical history, and lifestyle habits. As part of this process, the insurance underwriters will establish the cost of the plan and whether there will be any conditions, such as exclusions, in the policy.

We’ve put together a guide to help you understand the different types of underwriting when choosing a health insurance plan.

Different types of medical underwriting

There are a variety of different kinds of medical underwriting to consider if you’re thinking about purchasing an international medical insurance policy, which includes:

Full Medical Underwriting (FMU)

If you opt for full medical underwriting, then you have to fill out a medical questionnaire about your medical history when you apply for the insurance plan. The FMU application process can take longer than other forms of underwriting, as you could have to supply more details.

The information given in the medical questionnaire will be reviewed by the underwriter to establish the details of your insurance cover including if there will be exclusions.

Moratorium Underwriting (Mori)

With moratorium underwriting, pre-existing medical conditions will be excluded for a certain time period from the beginning of your cover.

In most instances, you will not be required to complete a medical questionnaire, so the process of purchasing a health insurance plan can sometimes be easier. Once your waiting period is over, you may also be covered for pre-existing medical conditions under your policy.

Continued Personal Medical Exclusions (CPME)

This insurance underwriting option is applicable when you wish to transfer to a different insurance provider. With CPME you can carry your current policy terms over to your new insurer.

It can be beneficial for those who still wish to access treatment for medical conditions that are on their present policy when they switch to a different insurance provider. However, when you do make this move, bear in mind that exclusions from your old plan can remain valid.

Medical History Disregarded (MHD)

Medical history disregarded is usually more common with corporate international health insurance plans, but means that most pre-existing medical conditions will not be factored into the underwriting process.

However, this sometimes only applies to acute conditions rather than chronic conditions, but it depends on the insurer. Examples of acute conditions incorporate broken bones or viruses, whereas chronic conditions can include arthritis or cancer.

One of the main advantages of MHD is that you can receive cover for pre-existing conditions, which has the added benefit of possibly making the claims process more straightforward. However, this type of underwriting tends to be more on the expensive side due to having pre-existing condition cover.

Continued Moratorium Underwriting (CMori)

Similar to CPME, continued moratorium underwriting is relevant when you move to a different insurance provider. When you transfer to a new provider, the start date of your waiting period will remain the same as your existing insurance policy.

 It’s also useful to note that while you can get the same level of cover when you switch insurers with CMori, there may be some stipulations, such as how long is left in your current moratorium period.

Factors that can affect your health insurance premium

There are many factors that may affect the amount of your health insurance premium, including your age medical history, and lifestyle factors. Take a look at our blog to find out more information about the costs involved with international health insurance.

Lifestyle factors

Lifestyle factors can impact the cost of your international private medical insurance (IPMI) premium, such as your smoker status. This is because it can increase the risk of having health problems and how much you might need medical treatment.

Medical history

The insurer will look into your medical history as part of the underwriting procedure, like whether you have any pre-existing medical conditions. This can make your insurance premium more expensive in some cases, as your risk profile could be higher.


Age is another factor that could influence the cost of your health insurance. For example, the premium can be higher if you’re older, as you could be more likely to require use of healthcare services. There may even sometime be age limits for taking out a private health insurance policy, but this can depend on the insurer.

Country of destination

Your country destination can also affect the price of your insurance premium, as healthcare costs in some parts of the world are more expensive than others. Additionally, the underwriter will look at the risk of insuring a person in their chosen country, which could involve assessing the likelihood of events like natural disasters.

When choosing your plan, insurance providers often give you the choice of your geographical area of coverage. Discuss through your options with the insurer during the application process to find the plan that is right for you.

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International health insurance can give you reassurance that you can access high-quality medical care when you’re living or working abroad for an extended period, and can also provide you with flexibility over where you’re treated as well as a choice of doctor.

 Click here to find out more about how we can support you with our health insurance solutions.