What is a Health Underwriter?

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  • Written By: Rachel Burkot
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2019
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A health underwriter examines and writes documents for patients in health care. Health underwriters work with both individual clients and larger firms to process the information. Jobs involve marketing, managing projects, implementing systems, organizing files and obtaining information. Health underwriting involves a broad understanding of the health care field, as well as business tactics.

Becoming an underwriter involves receiving a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. The student’s major will differ according to the school and the programs offered, but it will be in the health industry. Courses will cover a variety of health science topics, such as individual health care, group benefits and managed care. Most of these programs have a rigid schedule for completing the degree because each course builds on a previous one. Once the student receives a bachelor’s degree, he or she is eligible to practice as a health underwriter, provided that continuing education courses are taken, and the underwriter is recertified every two years.

Underwriters generally work in hospitals, paramedical facilities or inspection companies. In a medical environment, the underwriter is responsible for analyzing all underwriting information and processing it, along with patients’ files and applications. Documents must be examined for any risk factors, as the underwriter looks at business risks and profits, manages loss and growth ratios, and creates budgets for underwriting expenses. In a health care organization, the underwriter will also work with internal stakeholders to coordinate support after sales and transactions that occur at the facility.


When health underwriters work at inspection companies, duties typically vary. Here the underwriter may act as a health insurance underwriter, focusing on the particulars of client insurance policies. Health insurance underwriters are trained to give advice about insurance topics such as the insurance market in the medical community and disability income for individuals or groups.

Those who hope to become health underwriters should have an interest in the medical community and be well-versed in health care knowledge and jargon. The underwriter should be organized and detail-oriented, as maintaining a solid system for the paperwork is one of the key tasks in this career. Files are often stored on computers too, so the underwriter should have a strong set of computer skills. Health underwriters should interact well with people so clients can feel comfortable around them. They should also be self-motivated, goal-oriented and possess good communication and problem-solving skills.


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Post 3

Is a bachelors degree always required to get insurance underwriter jobs?

I have several years experience in health related fields, but don't have a college degree. Becoming an underwriter is something that has always sounded interesting to me.

I am very detail oriented and already familiar with a lot of medical background information.

Does anyone know if companies hire health underwriters that don't have a college education?

Post 2

My experience with health underwriters is from a different perspective. I used to sell insurance, and I knew that every policy I wrote, would eventually have to go through a health underwriter.

From my end, this was often very frustrating. I understand that an underwriter needs to look at all the risks involved and make the best decision on the information presented to them.

What made it hard for me is when I had to tell a client they had been denied coverage or had to pay more for their premiums.

There were many times I found out that my clients did not give me all the particulars regarding their health history. This is when the underwriters

were doing their job, and saw things that I wasn't made aware of .

From my perspective a health underwriter tries to look at the whole picture and then follow what their company guidelines require.

I worked for more than one insurance company, and the guidelines from one company to the next can be very different.

Post 1

I worked for several years as a health underwriter in the insurance business. The majority of our work was with long term care and medicare supplement insurance policies.

All of the underwriters had a bachelors degree, and we also went through extensive training. Our training mostly focused on medical terminology and practices.

We had to read a lot of medical records and become familiar with the medications that were prescribed for each particular diagnosis.

The hardest part of this job was deciphering the doctors handwriting. This was several years ago, when most of the medical records were handwritten by the doctors. Because most all applicants were senior citizens, many of them had a long medical history.

This was the most challenging part of the job. Once we went through their medical history, then we based our insurance decision according to our company guidelines.

Each underwriter also had an underwriter trainee who did most of the leg work and administrative work for us. The main focus of my job was to read through the records and make a decision on the policy.

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