Getting Life Insurance with Sleep Apnea

Having sleep apnea is already an additional challenge to deal with, the last thing you want to do is worry about getting life insurance coverage. It used to be very hard to get life insurance with sleep apnea in the past. Carriers would give you much higher monthly payments or sometimes even decline an applicant altogether. Fortunately, due to more data showing how sleep apnea can be managed with medical treatment, companies started offering much better rates in recent years. It is not uncommon to get a preferred rates if your sleep apnea is well managed. This is a rate class that only the very healthy would qualify for but now you can get it too. In this article, we will be going over how getting life insurance with sleep apnea isn’t impossible at all. The following are some key points from this article;

  1. In case you didn’t already know about sleep apnea, it is a disorder that causes disruptions in breathing while sleeping. Someone who has sleep apnea will stop breathing during sleep for a period of time from a few second to a few minutes. Once the person starts to breathe again they will breathe sometimes with a snorting sound.
  2. Obstructive – most common type usually caused due to physical impairments such as an interference within the air passage like abnormal tongue size or tonsils. 
  3. Central Sleep Apnea – unlike obstructive type this type of sleep apnea is caused because your brain is not sending a proper message to the muscles that regulate your breathing.
  4. Complex Sleep Apnea – Is when you have both types of sleep apnea simultaneously.
  5. Like any other medical condition life insurance companies always want to see “control”. The key to getting life insurance with sleep apnea is to show you have it under control
  6. A lot of the carrier’s decision really fall onto the severity of the sleep apnea ranging from mild, moderate,  and severe in addition to the treatment consistency.
  7. As important as the first is knowing which companies are the ones most likely to approve at best rates someone with sleep apnea.
  8. If you have sleep apnea you should definitely be working with an independent life insurance brokerage. The first reason is that you have a medical condition that not all life insurance companies understand.
  9. If you didn’t know, life insurance is a competitive field and life insurance companies are fighting with each other for you and the way they compete with each other is by having their own niche to differentiate themselves from the crowd. As someone with a medical condition, you need to make sure you are working with a life insurance company that will give you the most bang for your buck and specifically one that specializes in sleep apnea.

First of all, what is sleep apnea?

In case you didn’t already know about sleep apnea, it is a disorder that causes disruptions in breathing while sleeping. Someone who has sleep apnea will stop breathing during sleep for a period of time from a few second to a few minutes. Once the person starts to breathe again they will breathe sometimes with a snorting sound. When the sleeper is taken out of the deep sleeping state into the light sleeping state it can cause daytime drowsiness. People with this condition are often not even aware of this condition until a family member or sleeping partner notifies them of the problem. There are 3 types of sleep apnea and let’s get right into them.

The 3 Different Types of Sleep Apnea

sleep apnea life insurance

Obstructive – most common type usually caused due to physical impairments such as an interference within the air passage like abnormal tongue size or tonsils. It occurs when your throat muscles alternatively relax and block your airway during sleep.

Central Sleep Apnea – unlike obstructive type this type of sleep apnea is caused because your brain is not sending a proper message to the muscles that regulate your breathing.

Complex Sleep Apnea – Is when you have both types of sleep apnea simultaneously.

Whichever sleep apnea type you have there are some common things that will be considered for approving an applicant.

What Life Insurance Companies Look For

Like any other medical condition life insurance companies always want to see “control”. The key to getting life insurance with sleep apnea is to show you have it under control and here are some things the carriers will look at to see if that is the case:

  • Type and severity of sleep apnea
  • Sleep study completion
  • Continuous use of the CPAP machine and or medications.
  • Supporting treatment such as losing weight or special dieting.
  • Ongoing doctor visits for apnea management to see if treatment has helped or worsened the disease.
  • Other medical conditions
  • Use of tobacco or alcohol products

What rate classes mean

Once the life insurance company consider all these factors they will assign a rate class to you. Here is a small description of what the rate classes mean:

Preferred Plus/Preferred – usually a rate class given to individuals who are very healthy with no medical conditions, no family history of serious illnesses and ideal built. This is where you get the absolute best monthly premium possible.

Standard Plus/Standard – this is a rate class assigned to someone who might have family history, existing medical conditions or doesn’t qualify based on built for the preferred class. Majority of people get this rate class, its rates are not as inexpensive as preferred rates but still very reasonable.

Substandard – this particular rating has many levels known as tables and it goes from table 2 to table 10. People who get a substandard rate are usually considered higher risk by the company’s underwriters. Anyone with this rate class will typically pay a lot more for life insurance. The higher the table number the higher the payments. But of course it is still better to have coverage especially if you are in a higher risk of mortality.

Now that you have a better idea of the types of sleep apnea, what carriers look for to make decisions and the rate classes they assign, lets check out what are some possible outcomes.

The Outcomes Based on Your Sleep Apnea

A lot of the carrier’s decision really fall onto the severity of the sleep apnea ranging from mild, moderate,  and severe in addition to the treatment consistency. So once the carrier takes everything into consideration here is what you can expect financially.

Mild Sleep Apnea – If your condition is not complicated and is easily managed without getting multiple prescriptions and CPAP machine then preferred rates which are for the healthy can be yours.

Moderate Sleep Apnea – Assuming you are controlling it with treatment like CPAP or medication you can also qualify for preferred rates. Of course, if you don’t show consistency in treatment you will most likely qualify for a standard to substandard rate classes.

Severe Sleep Apnea – First off if you are not treating your severe sleep apnea it is not possible to get coverage and you will have to resort to getting a graded death benefit policy unless you wait till you get your ducks in order. However let’s say like most folks with sleep apnea you are getting it treated accordingly. You can get approved at a standard rate or substandard if there are any other risk factors such as your built, smoking status or additional conditions.

What it really comes down to

It’s all about your treatment and control of your apnea. As important as the first is knowing which companies are the ones most likely to approve at best rates someone with sleep apnea. The majority of cases that get declined for life insurance are usually due to non-compliant follow-up and treatment.

Risk factors

As you already know by now, life insurance companies don’t make up things and reasons to raise premiums. Premiums are based on the rate class that you are given and that also depends on how much of a “risk” you are to them. Sleep apnea can occur whether you are young or old, male or female, there are even children who have sleep apnea. But there are certain factors that will put you at an increased risk such as the following:

  • If you are overweight
  • If you have a neck circumference greater than 17 inches
  • If you are a male over age 65
  • If you have a natural narrow airway
  • If you have a bad family history
  • If you are a smoker
  • If you have heart disease
  • If you have had a stroke

Life Insurance Application Tips with Sleep Apnea

There are a couple things you should do when applying for life insurance with sleep apnea.

    • Work with a high-risk broker who will recommend the companies that offer best rates with sleep apnea.
    • Attach a cover letter explaining your additional treatment, why you need the coverage and to demonstrate a healthy lifestyle.
    • Listen to your doctor’s recommendations.
    • Make sure you have a sleep study complete.

Why you should work with us!

If you have sleep apnea you should definitely be working with an independent life insurance brokerage. The first reason is that you have a medical condition that not all life insurance companies understand. If you didn’t know, life insurance is a competitive field and life insurance companies are fighting with each other for you and the way they compete with each other is by having their own niche to differentiate themselves from the crowd. As someone with a medical condition, you need to make sure you are working with a life insurance company that will give you the most bang for your buck and specifically one that specializes in sleep apnea. For example, if you go with company ABC because they are a really nice company with great products, you will realize they didn’t give you the rate class you were anticipating for and your premiums are crazy expensive. That’s not okay at all! You didn’t realize that company ABC specializes in diabetes, so now because of that, you are paying the price for it. It’s not your fault that you didn’t know what their niche was but because they don’t understand what sleep apnea is that’s why they rated you up like crazy. If you had gone with a company who’s niche is sleep apnea you would be working with a company who understands your condition and wants to work with you to get you the most bang for your buck and the health class you wanted. Working with us means you will be directed to a company who specializes in sleep apnea.

Final thoughts

On a final note, you should not have any difficulties applying for life insurance with sleep apnea. Feel free to call us so we can shop together and make sure you don’t apply with a wrong company and avoid paying more than you have to. We know all the right carriers to apply with and go the extra mile to make sure you get approved. Did we forget to mention that our services are 100% FREE? Because they are! We will find you the best life insurance company that match your specific needs, health, and lifestyle then we will fill out the application for you and get you covered in no time! Don’t wait another day because you will never be as young as you are today. With life insurance you don’t have to worry about the future, you can focus on the present and spend more time with the ones who truly matter the most, your family! Call us at 888.492.1967.

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About Mack Dudayev

Mack is owner and life insurance expert at InsureChance. On a mission to create a way everyone can understand, afford and attain the right life insurance coverage to protect their financial responsibilities.

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