When you apply for private health insurance, the insurer will review the risk of your application, known as “underwriting”, in one of two ways, “Moratorium Underwriting” or “Full Underwriting”.

Most insurers in Singapore accept only “Full Underwriting”. You will be required to complete a full medical questionnaire covering every illness, condition and doctor’s diagnosis prior to the application.

This questionnaire then forms the basis of the insurer’s underwriting decision. Typically, pre-existing conditions will be excluded with little or no chance of them being covered, even after a number of treatment-free years.

Fortunately, the British insurer, Aviva, applies what the industry calls the “Moratorium Underwriting” to its MyShield and MyShield Plus plans, as part of a series of policy enhancements since Aug, 2007.

What is moratorium underwriting?

Moratorium underwriting offers the chance of having pre-existing conditions covered after a period of time.

The insurer does not require a medical questionnaire to be filled out, but basically puts a blanket ban on cover for any medical conditions for which advice, treatment or medication has been sought before the start of the plan. You can click here for more information about moratorium underwriting.

Under Aviva MyShield, if no medical treatment or consultations have been required for the illness, or any related ones, for predefined number of years by the insurer, cover will be extended to these pre-existing conditions, subjecting to other conditions set by the insurers.

Applicants for its MyShield plans no longer need to declare their medical history when they sign up, but will instead be given instant approval. This is on the condition that they are not employed in certain occupations and have not been rejected for health or life insurance previously. As a result, if a person with pre-existing condition signs up for the plan, and the illness returns after a five-year absence, it will be covered.

However, For five continuous years from the coverage start date, he must not have, in relation to a Pre-Existing Condition,:

  • experienced symptoms; or
  • sought advice or tests from a Physician, a Specialist or Alternative Medicine Provider (including checkups for that Pre-Existing Condition); or
  • required treatment or medication; or
  • received treatment or medication

There are also a list of pre-existing illnesses that are permanently excluded from coverage. These include stroke, kidney failure and all forms of cancer except skin cancer, etc.

Nevertheless, the product is still very helpful for people with minor medical condition or accident before.


About the Author

Ivan Guan is the author of the popular book "FIRE Your Retirement". He is an independent financial adviser with more than a decade of knowledge and experience in providing financial advisory services to both individuals and businesses. He specializes in investment planning and portfolio management for early retirement. His blog provides practical financial tips, strategies and resources to help people achieve financial freedom. Follow his Telegram Channel to join the FIRE community.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. This does not reflect the official position of any agency, organization, employer or company. Refer to full disclaimers here.

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