When was the last time that you enjoyed a full and uninterrupted night’s sleep?
If you are one of the 18 million Americans living with sleep apnea, your answer is “never”.
Since you are reading this article I’d be willing to bet you already know that sleep apnea is a serious health condition.
What you probably don’t know is how having sleep apnea affects your ability to get life insurance coverage.
Here’s the issue with sleep apnea…
If you have sleep apnea then you have breathing interruptions during sleep.
And if sleep apnea is left untreated it may lead to heart disease, chronic daytime fatigue, and hypertension.
This is obviously a concern to an insurance company.
So let’s get into the details…
In this article we will take a closer look at everything you need to know about obtaining affordable life insurance even if you are over 50 with sleep apnea.
Will Sleep Apnea Affect My Life Insurance Approval?
Can you get life insurance if you are over 50 at decent rates if you have sleep apnea?
Fortunately, for most people the answer is yes.
In fact, I’ve helped many people with a history of sleep apnea secure quality coverage.
Having said that sleep apnea is a serious condition. And as result, many people are declined for coverage
However, this most often happens if your sleep apnea is not being treated and if you aren’t compliant with therapy.
If you are being treated and are using a CPAP as recommended then most likely you will be approved for coverage.
What Rate Class Are You Likely to Qualify for With Sleep Apnea?
A life insurance company will compile all of your information to determine what class they can approve you for…assuming they can approve you.
Know that every company has different underwriting guidelines.
However, the following will give you a general idea of what type of rating you might expect to be approved for with sleep apnea.
Preferred Plus – It is possible to get life insurance with a preferred plus rate, but not likely. At least one company might offer this rating. However, sleep apnea needs to have been diagnosed more than 2 years ago and you must have had a recent sleep study that just shows mild/moderate CPAP use. Also, there can be no other health problems.
Preferred – If your sleep apnea is mild and if you are fully compliant with the therapy as recommended by your doctor
Standard– for moderate sleep apnea and if compliant with therapy
Table 2 to table 4 – for moderate sleep apnea that is untreated, but you don’t have any complications. Also, if it is treated and if you’re complaint with therapy.
Table 4 – if the sleep apnea is considered severe, not being treated, and you don’t have any complications then you might fall in this range.
The worst case scenario, of course, is a denial. It’s important to know which insurance companies will view your medical history most favorably.
What Info Will The Insurance Company Want to Know About Sleep Apnea?
These are some of the questions the insurance company is going to have when considering your application for coverage.
In order for me to help match you to to the company that will look at your application most favorably you’ll want to share this information with me?
- When were you originally diagnosed?
- Were you diagnosed through a sleep study, then prescribed a CPAP machine treatment each night.
- Are you using a CPAP on a regular basis? Has this always been the case?
- Do you go to your doctor on a regular basis for follow ups.
- Is your sleep apnea diagnosed as obstructive, central, mix, or unknown
- Describe the severity of your sleep apnea.
- Have you completed an overnight sleep study? If so, when?
- What was the sleep apnea index from your sleep study? What was the oxygen saturation percentage?
- What is your current sleep apnea treatment plan?
- Do you have any sleep apnea complications?
- Do you have positive response from ongoing treatment?
- Do you have any sleep-related driving accidents?
- Do you currently smoke or not?
How to Qualify For Life Insurance With Sleep Apnea
The first step is the application process.
Then you will need to do a medical exam unless you apply for no medical exam life insurance.
And then depending upon the insurance company and the type of policy you apply for they may want to obtain your medical records for review.
Specifically, they will want to review any sleep studies that you have had.
Insurance companies want to see that you are committed to keeping your sleep apnea condition under control, and that you are compliance with you treatment plan.
If your sleep apnea is untreated or you cannot prove a positive history of medical care, you will most likely be declined for traditional coverage.
However, you may be able to qualify for final expense policy.
Understand that from an insurance company’s perspective, they are concerned about any medical conditions you have.
However, even more important is knowing what you are doing to take care of yourself and treat whatever medical condition you have going forward.
They want to know you are being proactive about your health. The more proactive you are in taking care of yourself the longer you will probably you will live!
How to Improve Your Chances For Approval
Ok, so what can you do specifcially to improve your chances of being approved for coverage at at rate that’ that’s affordable.
Consider the following…
Make Healthier Lifestyle Choices
Sleep apnea puts you at increased risk of complications like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, liver problems, and daytime fatigue.
You will have a hard time finding an insurance policy if your health is poor.
You can solve this by making healthier lifestyle choices to limit your complications. Even simple changes make a big difference!
- Exercise on a regular basis
- Swap fried and processed foods for fruits, vegetables, and grains
- Stop smoking
- Lose excess weight
These changes will improve your quality of life and make it easier to secure the life insurance policy you want.
Visit Your Doctor Often
Your insurance company will consider your history of doctor’s appointments.
As mentioned already, and as I ‘m sure you know, it’s a good idea to see your doctor on a regular basis for checkups.
Responsible management of your condition is most important to your insurance company.
Always Use Your CPAP Machine
Your CPAP machine opens your airways and helps you breathe easily the entire night.
This therapy is considered the gold standard for treating sleep apnea.
Every insurance company takes your use of a CPAP machine seriously!
CPAP technology has advanced significantly over the years.
Today’s machines are convenient and easy to use.
Use yours every single night to sleep soundly, minimize complications, and show your life insurance company that you are following your treatment plan.
Undergo Every Test and Sleep Study
Insurance companies do not appreciate missed sleep studies or skipped tests.
They are more likely to conclude your condition is treated and controlled if they can see evidence of your effort.
Cooperate with your physician, submit to your sleep studies promptly, and complete each required test.
Your cooperation will pay off when you secure a quality life insurance policy in spite of your sleep apnea
Causes and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
If you are someone that hasn’t been diagnosed with sleep apnea, but perhaps your spouse or significant is concerned about your snoring.
Perhaps they think you need to have it checked out.
If so, know that sleep apnea develops when the muscles in the back of the throat relax too much. This narrows the airway and makes it difficult to inhale breath.
As soon as your brain realizes that breathing has become too delayed, it forces you awake.
You probably make a snorting, choking, or gasping sound at this time. It’s unpleasant, but it keeps you alive.
Most people with sleep apnea don’t realize what happens while they sleep.
If you have sleep apnea, your breathing stops many times while you sleep each night.
You most likely stop breathing at least once every minute. That equals 60 breathing interruptions (known as apneas) per hour and 400 per night!
It’s impossible for your body to function properly with such poor sleep quality. Even worse, your body loses oxygen during each apnea.
This is why sleep apnea causes immediate problems and long-term issues.
Adults suffering from sleep apnea are at higher risk of complications, diseases, and accidents.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you are most likely suffering from sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring followed by abrupt awakenings
- Dry mouth or sore throat each morning
- Headaches each morning
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Attention and focus problems
You could be especially vulnerable to sleep apnea if you are overweight, male, or above the age of 50.
Here’s The Bottom Line
Living with sleep apnea is difficult, but you can still secure life insurance coverage.
You must give your sleep apnea condition the attention it needs.
Visit your doctor, complete sleep studies, stick to your treatment guidelines every night, and take steps to live a healthier lifestyle.
Your efforts will pay off when your life insurance company grants you an approval.
Call me today and I’ll help you get the coverage you need to protect your family.