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Health Insurance Glossary

Definitions for common health insurance terms

underwriting

DEFINITION: Underwriting or medical underwriting is process used by insurance companies (particularly in the individual market) to determine if an applicant is an acceptable risk, and if so, how much to charge in premiums based on the applicant’s medical history. As of 2014, all individual policies will be guaranteed issue, which means that most underwriting will no longer be allowed. However, premiums will still vary based on age (although not to the degree that they do prior to 2014) and tobacco use.