What is a pre-existing condition?
When it comes to applying for health insurance, a pre-existing condition is something you’ve had medical advice or treatment for in the past. It can also be a medical ‘sign, symptom or event’ that you’re aware of or reasonably should have been aware of.
Not everything will affect the cover you’re offered, but certain conditions or treatments will suggest you’re more likely to make a claim in the future. Pre-existing conditions that are often of particular interest include things like heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, knee and hip conditions, back problems and respiratory illnesses.
It’s essential that you disclose all pre-existing conditions and let the insurer decide which ones will affect your cover. If you don’t tell them about a pre-existing condition, your policy could be cancelled or a claim refused when you need treatment, even though you’ve been paying premiums for some time.
How would an insurer know I have a pre-existing condition?
Can I apply for medical insurance with a pre-existing condition?
The short answer is yes. The best way to confirm what an insurer is prepared to offer is to make an application with full disclosure of your pre-existing conditions. Several outcomes are possible:
- Their policy may cover your condition anyway
- They may agree to cover treatments related to that condition if you pay a higher premium
- They may agree to cover the condition after a wait period, provided it doesn’t get worse or re-occur
- They may exclude treatments related to that condition
Good insurance brokers represent most of the main health insurance providers and know their policy details inside out. They can often identify insurers that typically cover your condition in some way. This can save you a lot of time spent shopping around and the frustration of being turned away.
What are my options if I’m turned down for health insurance?
If a pre-existing condition is preventing you from getting the health insurance cover you want, there may be some other options to consider and get advice about.
Join a group scheme
Look at other types of insurance
To learn more about health insurance and the other types of personal insurance mentioned above, see our series of health and wealth insurance guides.