Health declaration: which questions are less relevant?

A health declaration is mandatory, among other things, when taking out certain insurance policies. As of 2012, a number of questions from that statement have been deleted.

What is a health declaration for?

In 2011, approximately 750,000 people completed a health declaration when taking out life insurance and approximately 25,000 when taking out disability insurance. Insurers require a health declaration to better understand the risks that consumers want to cover themselves against.
Companies submit the completed forms for assessment to their medical advisor, who can then assess whether there is an acceptable risk. If there is a higher risk, this does not mean that the applicant will be immediately rejected. Often a higher premium is charged or the coverage does not apply to certain areas. Anyone who does not answer questions honestly runs the risk that the insurance company will not pay out.

Which questions are less relevant in the 2012 health declaration

The main adjustment to the existing questionnaires concerns the omission of questions about the health of family members, such as the presence of cardiovascular disease in relatives. Many prospective policyholders found such questions annoying and irrelevant. For example, insured people often experience it as very confronting to be reminded of the death of a loved one.
And although certain diseases within a family can be of great importance for the health risks that insurers cover, it has been considered desirable to omit such questions from now on .

What other adjustments does the 2012 health declaration have?

In addition to omitting questions about the medical history of family members, the health declaration has also been adjusted on a number of other points. While until 2012 all applicants had to answer the same series of questions, it has now been decided to split the health declaration into two separate questionnaires:

  • one for disability insurance;
  • one for life insurance.

Other adjustments include:

  • the request for blood tests is no longer required;
  • HIV as a possible cause of AIDS has been included among the common diseases due to better treatment methods;
  • From now on, the medical advisor is obliged to report an abnormal assessment.


Which questions still need improvement?

According to some patient associations and interest groups, the new health declaration still has room for improvement on a number of points:

  • For example, the questionnaire currently asks whether the prospective insured person has consulted a healthcare provider in the past 5 years. Because people often cannot remember this exactly, some argue for reducing that period to, for example, one year;
  • others believe that insurers should have more personal contact with policyholders. For example, questions about weight can lead to entire stories;
  • and then of course there are always the questions that are difficult to monitor, such as the number of alcoholic drinks that someone consumes every day.
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