When do you have to reveal medical conditions?


An applicant for health insurance must disclose any medical conditions of which they are aware. Insurance policies are taken out to cover the costs of unknown future events, and therefore most health insurance policies will not cover medical costs for pre-existing medical conditions.

The failure to disclose medical conditions on a health insurance application form can result in a future insurance claim failing or the cancellation of the insurance policy.

Certain insurance providers may cover pre-existing medical conditions within their policies. They will consider the nature of the condition, how long the applicant has had the condition, what treatment is involved etc. They may offer a policy with full medical underwriting that is inclusive of pre-existing medical conditions, or a policy on a moratorium basis. This stipulates a waiting period during which no claims for pre-existing medical conditions can be made.

Doctors and other medical professionals have a duty to keep personal information about patients confidential and this includes information about medical conditions. However, in order to perform their job and do what is best for the patient, they must disclose information about a patient’s medical condition to the team of health care experts they work with but only with a patient’s permission. Doctors that are unsure whether they can reveal any medical information about a patient should take legal advice from a specialist solicitor.

There are circumstances where a doctor or medical professional must disclose information without the consent of the patient. These circumstances occur when it is in the best medical interests of the patient but the patient is incapable of giving permission due to mental incapacity, illness or immaturity.

If a patient has been neglected or physically or sexually abused, their medical condition may be disclosed to the relevant authorities to prevent further harm. This is only possible if the doctor or medical professional believes the patient is unable to consent and it is in their best medical interests.

It may be necessary to disclose information about medical conditions when applying for certain jobs or when partaking in certain leisure activities. People will be asked to disclose medical conditions if the job or activity involves a risk to people with certain medical conditions. This is done to protect the employer or service provider from any lawsuits but also to protect individuals and their health and safety. Employers should obtain legal advice before requesting this information to ensure they are following employment law.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on revealing medical conditions, Contact Law can put you in touch with a local specialist  solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local solicitors please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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