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The definitions below are provided for guidance purposes. Many insurance specific terms are used on this website and this glossary of those terms will help you in understanding them. However, these definitions are not insurer definitions and you should make sure that you read your policy terms and conditions fully before committing to anything. As always, If you are in any doubt, speak to your adviser.



An Acupuncturist is a member of the British Medical Acupuncture Society. 


Acute conditions are curable and treatable and are covered by medical insurance. 

Annual Review Date

The date your policy is renewed and from when your premiums may be changed and any new terms and conditions applied. This date will be 12 months after the policy start date and each anniversary after that date. 

Alternative Therapy

Increasingly popular – can include homeopathy, acupuncture, physiotherapy and traditional Chinese medicine. 

Cash Plan

Reimbursement (partial) of insured costs. 


Incurable long-term illnesses (e.g. terminal cancers). 


The amount of benefit payable to an insured member for an episode of treatment for a single medical condition whilst the policy is in force. 

Claims Procedures

The procedure for making a claim – many insurers can now do this over the phone rather than by forms. 


This is the person being treated for an illness or injury. 


Medical insurance policies are known as "comprehensive" plans when they include cover for inpatient, day-case and outpatient costs. In some cases there may be financial limits on outpatient allowances. 


An excess on a policy is the amount of eligible medical costs which the client has to pay before the insurance company starts to pay benefit. Excesses are usually defined as payable per person per membership year, although in some cases the excess is payable per claim or per course of treatment. 

Health / medical insurance

Is there a difference between health and medical insurance? The answer is ‘no’ as they tend to be used interchangeably. You can consider both of them to be exactly the same thing when reading definitions on LookForHealth; however they may differ on insurance policy documents from the insurers themselves. 


This is an individual who is admitted to hospital for medical treatment who has to stay for one (or possibly more) night(s). 


Moratorium underwriting is the style of acceptance of a medical insurance application in which the client signs a declaration to accept that medical conditions or symptoms suffered in a period of time prior to the inception date (usually five years) are excluded from cover. If the member is free of symptoms, medication and medical advice for a period after inception (usually two years) the exclusion is lifted. 

NHS Cash Benefit for Treatment

This is a ‘money back’ payment from your insurer for choosing to have NHS treatment instead of private treatment. 

Out patient

An individual treated in a hospital, clinic or consulting room – but not as a day or in patient. 


Private medical insurance (explained in full in our guides section). 

Pre-existing conditions

Conditions or symptoms that the client suffered from prior to the inception of the policy.

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