Sleep apnea is a condition where an individual stops breathing while asleep. This can occur multiple times a night and even per hour. Oftentimes an individual diagnosed with Sleep Apnea will be prescribed treatment called a C-Pap Machine. The C-Pap machine is designed as a pressurized air pump with a face mask that goes over your mouth or airway and keeps constant pressure forcing your airway to stay open and under pressure reducing the amount of times an individual would stop breathing while asleep.
An Apnea Index is used to determine the significance of Sleep apnea. This is called the Apnea-Hypopnea Index or AHI. The lower the AHI score the less severe the Apnea is.
Below is a chart that is used to understand the severity of Apnea
Does Sleep Apnea affect my Life Insurance Premium?
It could but it depends on your compliance and degree of Sleep Apnea.
When pricing an individual’s life insurance policy the topic of breathing becomes very important for determining the final pricing category. Breathing is obviously a necessary component of living and anytime breathing becomes an issue you can imagine the risk that the insurance company would have with insuring that individual. One way that the insurance company will compensate for extra risk is by charging extra premium.
If your doctor recommends that a sleep study be completed in order to determine if Sleep apnea is present, it is imperative that this request be satisfied prior to applying for life insurance. A major concern for the insurance companies is someone having undiagnosed Sleep apnea and if your doctor is concerned with you having Sleep Apnea, the life insurance company will be much more concerned. Oftentimes the fear of the unknown is more significant than the fear of the known. The insurance companies would rather insure someone who is known to have controlled Sleep Apnea vs. someone who might have undiagnosed Sleep Apnea.
Typically for simply being diagnosed with Sleep apnea most insurance companies would only offer a Standard price category. Standard being the 4th best category possible. If an individual has been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea and chooses not to use the recommended treatment they could receive a substandard rate or even possibly be declined for coverage. Many people have a hard time feeling comfortable with the mask on their face as they are sleeping and decide to not use the machine as treatment. In this scenario the insurance company would view this client as someone who is being non-compliant with doctors orders and a higher risk to insure. This increased risk would result in an even higher premium or possibly declination of the application depending on the severity of Apnea.
Many individuals get along great with their C-Pap machine and sleep better than ever while using this treatment. If you are being 100% compliant with the treatment it is important that you apply with the right company. Ideally you want to apply with a company that will be able to offer you a Preferred plus or Preferred rate, however there are only a few companies in the entire industry that would be able to do this. Thus, if your Sleep Apnea is considered mild and you are 100% compliant with using your C-Pap then you would be able to qualify for the best possible rating with some companies.
In addition, there are a handful of companies that can still offer preferred rates despite not using a C-Pap machine so it is important to discuss your situation with your agent so that we can navigate through each carrier’s underwriting guidelines to determine exactly which company will match up the best for you giving you the lowest possible price.