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Waiting periods for pre-existing conditions

31 August 2011 - 6:08pm

Whilst many people understand the benefits of having a private health insurance policy, some are unaware of the waiting period for pre-existing conditions.

The government has allowed private health insurers to impose a waiting period on some benefits for pre-existing conditions that would require hospital treatment.

This is simply to make sure that individuals don't only take out cover when they think they need to make a claim right away.

It allows for sustainability of the industry and protects both insurers and policyholders by ensuring that people aren't able to take advantage of the system.

In the interests of maintaining high standards of coverage, the waiting period applies to conditions, ailments or illnesses that have shown identifying symptoms - yet are not diagnosed - in the six months leading up to an individual signing a private cover policy.

An important stipulation is that the test focuses on symptoms, not diagnosis of a particular condition.

Medical practitioners appointed by the insurance company will determine whether or not the waiting period should apply - basing their decision from evidence provided by the individual's doctor.

Once the period has lapsed, members are then able to access the full range of benefits contained in their policy.

The process highlights the need to take out insurance early, rather than simply making a decision once you foresee health complications arising in the near future.