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Sleep apnea and life insurance
Listening to your doctor can help you qualify for competitive rates
Having sleep apnea won’t automatically disqualify you for life insurance, but it can affect your rates — especially if your condition is severe or you don’t follow your treatment plan.
What's in this guide?
- Can I qualify for coverage if I have sleep apnea?
- How do life insurers assess sleep apnea?
- Compare life insurance companies
- The best life insurance companies for sleep apnea
- How can I increase my chance of qualifying for insurance?
- What is sleep apnea?
- What happens during a sleep apnea episode?
- Bottom line
- Frequently asked questions
Can I qualify for coverage if I have sleep apnea?
Yes, many people with sleep apnea are able to qualify for coverage. Your eligibility and rates will be based on the severity of your sleep apnea, how well you stick to any treatment protocols your doctors prescribed and what other health conditions you have.
If you have mild to moderate sleep apnea and you follow all of your doctor’s advice, it may not affect your life insurance eligibility or rates at all. But if you have severe sleep apnea or you don’t routinely stick to your treatments, you could be charged higher premiums or denied coverage altogether.
How do life insurers assess sleep apnea?
Each insurer will assess sleep apnea differently, but your premium rates will be based on a combination of the type and severity of your sleep apnea, your treatment and what other health conditions or risks you have.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, sleep apnea conditions are categorized into three main levels of apnea-hypopnea index (AHI). AHI is an index that is used to assess the severity of the disorder based on total number of intervals or pauses in your breathing every hour of sleep.
- Mild sleep apnea. Mild sleep apnea means you experience five to 14 breathing pauses per hour of sleep.
- Moderate sleep apnea. Moderate sleep apnea involves 15 to 29 breathing pauses per hour of sleep.
- Severe sleep apnea. Severe sleep apnea involves 30 or more breathing pauses per hour of sleep.
Questions you may be asked
- When were you diagnosed with sleep apnea?
- What type of sleep apnea do you have?
- Have you sought treatment for the condition? If so, provide the name and address for the health professional treating you.
- How severe is your sleep apnea, and has it been improving, fluctuating or getting worse over time?
- Have you done an overnight sleep study? If yes, provide a date, your oxygen saturation percentage and AHI.
- Do you have a history of heart disease or mental illness?
- How often do you drink alcohol?
- What is your height and weight? Have there been any recent fluctuations in weight?
- As a result of this condition, have you experienced dizziness, headaches or irritability, found it difficult to perform work duties or had problems with concentration or memory?
- Has this condition had an impact on your relationships?
- Are you taking any medications or using a machines to assist with sleep apnea?
- How regularly do you use a CPAP machine?
- Do you follow all of your doctor’s treatment recommendations?
- Are you currently taking any medications?
Compare life insurance companies
The best life insurance companies for sleep apnea
Some insurers are more accommodating to those with sleep apnea. When you’re shopping around for the best possible policy and premium, explore these life insurance companies.
|Insurer||A.M. Best rating||Better Business Bureau rating|
|Legal & General||A+ (Superior)||A+|
|Lincoln Financial||A+ (Superior)||A+|
|Mutual of Omaha||A+ (Superior)||A+|
|Pacific Life||A+ (Superior)||A-|
|Protective Life||A+ (Superior)||A+|
How we picked our best providers
Our writers and editors are committed to objectivity and empowering our readers to make decisions free of bias.
When analyzing life insurance providers, we assess the insurer’s reputation in the industry, as well as their policy lineup, premiums and underwriting guidelines.
To determine industry reputation, our editorial team researches the company’s financial strength, accreditations and ratings, and reads customer reviews.
How can I increase my chance of qualifying for insurance?
The most important thing you can do to increase your chance of both qualifying and getting a good rate is to follow your doctor’s advice. This may include taking medications or undergoing treatments. If you can prove you’re committed to managing your sleep apnea, that can go a long way with your insurance company.
These strategies may also help to lower your premium:
- Avoid sleeping on your back
- Use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device
- Use a bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) device
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol, especially right before sleeping
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Complete a sleep study
- Treat associated conditions, like obesity
- Get jaw or tongue surgery (in extreme sleep apnea cases)
Sleep apnea is a common condition in the US, and it’s one that most insurers are used to seeing. A sleep apnea diagnosis won’t automatically disqualify you for a life insurance policy — it might not even affect your rates at all if you follow your doctor’s advice. If you’re ready to get started, compare life insurance companies to find one that’s the right fit.
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