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Health insurance for pre existing conditions

It’s always difficult to explain why health insurance for pre existing conditions is worth paying for and how it works. Most people when they have a pre existing medical condition will discount health insurance because of exclusions or because they think it will be more expensive.

In this section we’ll look at health insurance for pre existing medical conditions and potential ways to save money. While it is true that health insurance will exclude any pre existing or chronic medical conditions, there are still a number of areas where it can be cost effective and extremely useful.

One of the most important things to remember is that health insurance is designed to complement and support any treatment being received on the NHS. Health insurance is not designed to replace services that the NHS provides, especially for chronic medical conditions such as diabetes.

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60-Second Summary – Health insurance for pre existing conditions

Private health insurance is becoming increasing popular due to the recent struggles of the NHS. Here’s a quick summary of some of the key points when thinking about health insurance for pre existing conditions.

  • Health insurance is not designed to replace the NHS
  • Your premiums do not increase because of your medical history
  • You could consider taking out health insurance with full medical underwriting to help save money and get more suitable cover
  • Any health or medical condition that you have experienced symptoms, received treatment or consultations for within the last five years will usually be excluded
  • No health insurance policy is designed for treatment for pre existing conditions
  • Health insurance provides much more than just cover for pre existing conditions
  • Get a quote for health insurance to find out what it covers and compare how much it costs

When you apply for health insurance for pre existing conditions, there are usually two main groups of health or medical conditions.

1) Pre existing health condition or injury

This can be anything where you have experienced symptoms, received treatment or had any consultations for within the past five years before taking out a new health insurance policy. These will automatically be excluded from any new health insurance policy, but can be added again if you remain symptom treatment or medication free for a further three or five years.

2) Chronic medical conditions

A chronic medical condition is defined as a medical complaint where there is no known cure and therefore his lifelong.

Health insurance will automatically exclude any chronic or long term health condition, such as:

This helpful video from Bupa explains more about how health insurance works for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Bupa By You health insurance | Understanding pre-existing conditions

The vast majority of chronic medical conditions will receive perfectly adequate care and treatment through the NHS for free.

There are some more modern health insurance for pre existing conditions policies that do offer extra benefits and add-ons which can be extremely useful. You should speak to a qualified health insurance expert to find out more about these options.

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It is definitely possible to get health insurance with a pre existing medical condition, but there would usually be exclusions applied to your cover. This doesn’t mean that it’s not worth having health insurance with a pre existing condition, and you just need to think about your options carefully.

Does health insurance cover pre-existing conditions?

Health insurance will exclude pre existing conditions until you remain symptom treatment and medication free for a further three or five years. Alternatively, you could opt for full medical underwriting which could reduce your premiums to keep costs down.

As we’ve mentioned above, health insurance is designed to complement the services that are provided by the NHS as well as provide cover for acute medical conditions. This means that health insurance for pre existing conditions can be just as useful as it is for anyone else, especially for things like cancer treatment.

What types of health insurance are available?

There are several different types of health insurance available in the UK and the ‘right’ choice for cover will be based on your own situation. The main types of health insurance that you can buy are:

  • Individual health insurance: This is the most common form of health insurance to buy and it helps to cover the cost of private healthcare for one person.
  • Couples health insurance: You can buy specific policies designed to cover couples or can often add your partner onto an individual health insurance plan.
  • Family health insurance: Most insurance companies will give you the option to add your child(ren) onto your policy to build a family health insurance plan.
  • Over 50s health insurance: There are certain policies that are designed for over 50s with specifically chosen benefits and policy features included.
  • Business health insurance: Employers can choose to buy a workplace health insurance scheme as an attractive incentive/benefit for their employees.

Note: If you aren’t sure which form of health insurance will work best for you, you can get free, friendly advice from an independent health insurance specialist.

As time goes on there continues to be more innovation with health insurance for pre existing conditions and we’re seeing more options coming to the market. Health insurance companies seem to have recognised that pre existing conditions is an area that needs to be addressed and improved.

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The Exeter health insurance

TrustPilot score: 4.4/5.0 stars
Defaqto rating: 5 Stars

One of the market leaders with health insurance for pre-existing conditions is a company called The Exeter. This insurance company is well known for its flexible approach to underwriting, especially in the life insurance and income protection markets.

Health+ from The Exeter offers a unique approach to medical underwriting and several options specifically for chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes.

One of the key benefits with Health+ from The Exeter is that it can offer cover for potential complications linked to pre existing conditions. An example of this might be something like someone with diabetes and being able to claim for treatment for retinopathy in the future.

There are several other insurance companies that can work for customers will less serious medical conditions, so you should get advice from a health insurance expert before making any decisions.

Health Insurance provider reviews

There are several main options when you’re looking for cheaper health insurance for pre existing conditions to help reduce the cost. Lots of people in this situation are put off applying for health insurance because they think it will be too expensive or that it’s just not worth the money.

Our TOP 5 tips to save money on health insurance for pre existing conditions:

1) Full medical underwriting – this can be a very useful option for people especially with chronic medical conditions to help manage the cost of health insurance. Your health insurance application will require medical details and potentially a report from your GP to take account of your medical history.

Chronic medical conditions will be excluded anyway and so you will be no worse off in terms of the level of cover but your premiums should be reduced to take account of any exclusions applied.

2) Remove unwanted benefits – one of the best things about health insurance is the fact that it is so flexible and there are usually so many options to think about. This means that you can adapt your cover to suit your own needs as well as your budget.

Often, health insurance quotes will include several additional benefits and optional extras but can potentially be removed. Some of these options might not suit somebody with pre existing conditions and could help to reduce the cost.

3) Shop around and compare quotes – it’s always wise to do your research and to compare cover from several different of the top insurers to get the best quotes.

You might also be able to claim discounts when you compare quotes from several different insurance companies. It can usually be better to speak to a health insurance specialist or broker who can compare quotes for you quickly and easily.

4) Increase your excess – another standard option with health insurance policies is an excess per year or per claim. This works in the same way as other similar general insurance policies such as house insurance or car insurance.

You can often increase your excess to as much as £5,000 It can help to significantly reduce your monthly premiums. You should always be careful with this option and make sure that any excess that you choose is affordable should you need to make a claim.

5) Choose guided hospitals lists – this means that should you need to make a claim your insurer will choose which private hospital you go to and which specialist you see. For most consumers this option is perfectly adequate as the insurer should direct you to the right specialist based on your health problem.

If you feel that you need to see a specific specialist or that you want to visit a particular private health facility then you can choose non-guided hospitals but this will be more expensive.

Which other standard exclusions apply to health insurance?

When you take out health insurance in the UK there will be several standard exclusions as well as some specific exclusions that may apply to each insurer. You should check the policy documents carefully for the terms & conditions that apply specifically to your policy.

Standard health insurance exclusions:

The policy exclusions that are included can vary between insurance companies and this video from Bupa explains some of their main policy exclusions.

Bupa health insurance | What is a general exclusion?

Sometimes exclusions can be added to policies as optional extras such as dental care, optical treatment and travel cover. There are also other benefits that could be considered such as enhanced cancer cover and mental health care.

NO – Your health insurance premiums will not increase if you have a pre-existing medical condition. In fact you should actually be able to pay less for your health insurance if you choose the full medical underwriting option.

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Do I need health insurance with pre existing conditions?

This is actually down to your own personal preference and whether you feel that you need or want health insurance. Your medical history, while it’s important should actually have no real impact on whether you choose to take out health insurance.

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What about the NHS?

As we explained earlier on in this section, health insurance is actually designed to complement and support treatment that offered by the NHS. If you have a chronic medical condition then you will always be treated for this on the NHS and not by your health insurance company.

It is understandable that people with a pre-existing medical condition would want to seek private medical care, especially if they aren’t happy with what the NHS provides. Unfortunately, this is not what health insurance is designed for and therefore probably not the best solution.

When you apply for health insurance or if you are renewing your health insurance then you will be offered two different types of underwriting. Each of these different options has its benefits and potential drawbacks for people with pre-existing conditions.

You should carefully consider all of the options that are available to make sure that the route you choose is the best option for you. Here is a quick summary of how the two main types of underwriting works:

Types of underwriting

1) Moratorium underwriting – this is the most common type of underwriting when people apply for health insurance because it is far quicker and easier than the alternative route. You will usually be asked only a handful of very broad medical questions on your application, if any at all.

Moratorium underwriting will automatically exclude anything why you have received treatment, had symptoms or consulted a doctor within the last five years. This is often the best route for someone with no pre existing medical conditions as there should be no exclusions or issues.

2) Full medical underwriting – an application for health insurance with full medical underwriting will usually ask a number of medical questions and would require medical evidence from your GP to support your application.

This route is obviously more time consuming and more intrusive than moratorium underwriting, it can be more suitable for pre existing medical conditions. This option potentially means that your premiums will reduce to take account of any exclusions relating to your health or medical history.

Frequently asked questions about health insurance for pre-existing conditions

What is an acute medical condition?

An acute medical condition is generally defined as a medical problem Which can be cured by medical treatment or surgery. These can be medical conditions such as heart attack, cancer or stroke, as well as musculoskeletal issues such as back pain, joint problems or a strain. Health insurance is generally designed to provide treatment for most acute medical conditions.


What is a chronic medical condition?

A chronic medical condition is usually defined by being incurable and therefore will last for the rest of your life. These types of conditions can range from mild symptoms with no limitations to daily living up to severe and significant disability.

Some of the most common chronic medical conditions include diabetes, hypertension (blood pressure), hyperthyroidism, epilepsy, asthma, Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Health insurance is not designed to provide treatment for any of these medical conditions and you should seek advice from your GP if you have symptoms.

It’s important to shop around and do your research when you’re comparing health insurance either for yourself or for your family. There are several standard ways to compare health insurance premiums from all of the top insurers.

Usually, the best way to compare health insurance for pre-existing conditions is to speak to an expert or specialist with a specific experience in this area. This can be especially important if you are new to health insurance or have never applied for cover before.

Some of the most common options when comparing health insurance premiums and options include:

  • Health insurance brokers
  • Price comparison websites (e.g. Money Supermarket or Compare the Market)
  • Apply direct to health insurance companies
  • Ask for recommendations from friends and family

Getting the cheapest private health insurance has never been easier than it is today by, speaking to our friendly team of experts to compare the best health insurance quotes on 0800 009 6559 or CLICK HERE.

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What is the average cost of health insurance UK?

One of the top questions that people ask about health insurance is, ‘how much does it cost on average per month?’. According to recent research taken in 2023, the average cost of a health insurance is £86 per month for a standard personal protection policy. Health insurance policies can vary dramatically based on your age and the type of cover that you need, as well as which insurance provider you choose.

Most core health insurance policies will provide a similar level of protection and coverage for private medical treatments. You can tailor your health insurance policy to suit your needs and your budget by changing the benefits and levels of cover that you receive.

Is health insurance worth it?

Health insurance is the same as most other personal protection policies that you can buy, it is down to your own personal preference and attitude to risk. The other major issue is whether you can afford to pay for health insurance every month because it can be expensive.

If you ever need to claim on your health insurance policy then the benefits can be life changing and even lifesaving. The medical treatments and care that is provided by the NHS in the UK is among the best in the world, especially for chronic illness. Unfortunately, it is a well-known fact that the NHS is struggling to meet demand and that the levels of private medical treatment are generally far superior to public health treatments.

Example: If you needed knee surgery then you would have to wait for months or even years on the NHS, whereas private health insurance will give you access to better treatment, leading specialists, and within weeks usually. Rehabilitation and therapies cover that are also provided by most health insurance policies can be invaluable, especially if you are self-employed for example.

Is private health insurance better than the NHS?

Currently, the biggest issue with the NHS is the waiting times for any consultations and access to treatments, because of how stretched its resources are. The NHS provides some of the best care in the world for chronic illnesses and diseases, such as diabetes, MS, epilepsy, and asthma.

Health insurance is designed to complement and support the treatment that you can receive on the National Health Service, as well as giving you access to specialists for other medical issues such as musculoskeletal issues and cancer treatment, which are also the top reasons for claims on health insurance cover.

The main issues with NHS treatment currently and reasons for people taking out health insurance:

  • Long waiting lists for consultations, results and treatment
  • Overcrowded hospitals
  • Lack of beds
  • Shortages of NHS nurses and doctors
  • Some treatments not available (especially cancer treatments)
  • Specialists only available on private health insurance
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What is the best health insurance UK?

There are lots of different policy options when considering health insurance as well as your choice of several main insurance providers. The other consideration is whether you don’t take out health insurance and opt for receiving treatment on the NHS or paying for treatment yourself as and when you need it.

We’re constantly reviewing the top health insurance companies in the UK to find out which provide the best service, value, products and treatments. Based on our most recent reviews we suggest the following as the best health insurance UK 2023:

  1. Aviva Healthcare Solutions (Trustpilot score: 4.1 out of 5.0)
  2. BUPA Health Insurance (Trustpilot score: 4.0 out of 5.0)
  3. Vitality Personal Healthcare (Trustpilot score: 3.9 out of 5.0)
  4. Exeter Health+ (Trustpilot score: 4.4 out of 5.0)
  5. AXA PPP (Trustpilot score: 4.1 out of 5.0)
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Best Private Health Insurance 2023 - iam|INSURED

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