Plenty of people have experienced the nightmare of applying for life insurance after having been diagnosed with sleep apnea. Many companies treat you as if you really are going to quit breathing and not start again. I can argue both sides of this issue, but suffice it to say that there is good news when it comes to sleep apnea life insurance.
For the majority of companies a diagnosis of sleep apnea is thrown into the sleep apnea rate box and no matter what your medical records say, that is the treatment you can expect. For those companies the best you can expect is a standard to maybe a standard and table 2 (50% above standard). Their logic for the underwriting decision is that obstructive sleep apnea can cause or contribute to other serious health issues. From WebMD they offer the following, “If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems including:
* High blood pressure
* Heart failure, irregular heart beats, and heart attacks
* Worsening of ADHD
In addition, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for poor performance in everyday activities, such as at work and school, motor vehicle crashes, as well as academic underachievement in children and adolescents.” Is that enough to cause an auto pilot rating for everyone with sleep apnea?
The flip side of this coin is that in most cases sleep apnea can be easily controlled through use of a cpap mask that provides a constant flow of positive air pressure. When it is controlled the risks diminish dramatically. There are a group of companies with underwriters that understand that someone who is compliant with their treatment (use of cpap), is getting the sleep they need and a steady high level of oxygen that apnea robs you of.
They are also aware of the same thing I’ve noted over years of working with people with sleep apnea. One of the symptoms of sleep apnea is fairly hideous snoring, the kind that can drive a spouse to another room, or town. With control comes a cease fire in the snore war and a dose of marital bliss that may not have been around for a while. There is great motivation to continue with the treatment and to be compliant in everyday use.
It is these underwriters who see the preferred and preferred plus rate classes as completely possible.
Bottom line. Life insurance with sleep apnea doesn’t have to end with bad news. In order to attack the issue with your life insurance agent, be prepared to provide a copy of the sleep study that led to your diagnosis and also a followup sleep study done while on a cpap. Not all doctors do this, but it goes a long way with an underwriter when they can see the actual results of cpap use.