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Various health issues affect term life insurance rates, including sleep apnea. At least 25 million Americans are affected by sleep apnea. Many people suffering from the condition still apply for insurance and are accepted for coverage.

But life insurance companies view sleep apnea as a risk, so your term life insurance rates might be affected. The good news is that insurance companies underwrite health impairments like sleep apnea a little differently.

Quotacy is here to dig through the different life insurance companies to help you find affordable term life insurance rates that keep you and your family covered.

Buying Life Insurance with Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is one of the most common medical conditions we see with Quotacy clients. It’s a condition our agents are very familiar with and have had a lot of success in helping people with sleep apnea get life insurance coverage.

If you have sleep apnea, your best chances of getting affordable life insurance is to apply through a broker, like Quotacy. Brokers are not tied to one life insurance company and are able to shop the market.

We want you to get approved and will work hard to help you get coverage. Start the process by getting a free term life insurance quote or keep reading for more in-depth information about life insurance and sleep apnea.

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Sleep Apnea and Term Life Insurance Rates

Depending on the individual, sleep apnea can be characterized as mild, moderate, or severe. With any severity, the key to getting good term life insurance rates is the management of the condition.

If you have mild or moderate sleep apnea and you undergo effective treatment, such as using a CPAP device, and have no other risk factors, many insurance carriers would consider offering you the best classification rating in the life insurance industry. This rating is typically called Preferred Plus or Preferred Best, depending on the insurance carrier.

If you have severe sleep apnea, no other risk factors, and are managing it effectively, you could be considered anywhere from Preferred to Standard.

When applying for life insurance, you will need to undergo a medical exam and may have your medical records pulled.

If your medical records show that you have been advised by a doctor to perform a sleep study test, but have not done so, some life insurance companies will not even consider you for coverage until you do. These sleep study tests, which your health insurance will most likely cover, reveals brain wave activity, respiratory patterns, chest muscle activity and oxygenation.

When the life insurance underwriters find out that you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, but you are non-compliant (for example, a doctor prescribed you a CPAP device but you do not use it) your life insurance costs will reflect this. Your term life insurance premiums could double or even triple in price because of the risk you take by not managing your condition properly.

What Do the Underwriters Look For?

When reviewing an applicant’s sleep study test underwriters look for two key items:

  1. The AHI (Apnea/Hypopnea Index)
  2. Oxygen Saturation

The AHI calculates apnea (pauses in breathing) and hypopnea (shallow breathing) during an individual’s sleep.  The index values range from 0-30+. The lower the number, the better your AHI.

The oxygen saturation is your balance of oxygen in the blood. Normal blood oxygen levels are considered to be 95-100 percent.

Even though your doctor may note that you have “moderate” sleep apnea, this diagnosis is subjective which is why underwriters will review the sleep study tests.

Example: An individual’s doctor told him he had moderate to severe sleep apnea. The sleep study showed that his AHI was 17 and his oxygen saturation was at 90%. While the doctor may see this as moderate to severe, a life insurance carrier may consider the sleep apnea to be mild or even non-existent.

Many people with sleep apnea are able to buy affordable term life insurance. We will help by shopping your case at the appropriate life insurance carriers.

To make sure your loved ones are financially secure should you die unexpectedly, take a moment to run term life insurance quotes instantly without fear of being bombarded by phone calls and e-mails. You do not need to give up your personal contact information to see quotes. Take the first step in financial peace of mind today.

Watch the Life Insurance Sleep Apnea Video

About the writer

Headshot of Natasha Cornelius, a life insurance writer, for Quotacy, Inc.

Natasha Cornelius, CLU

Senior Editor and Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Natasha Cornelius, CLU, is a writer, editor, and life insurance researcher for Quotacy.com where her goal is to make life insurance more transparent and easier to understand. She has been in the life insurance industry since 2010 and has been writing about life insurance since 2014. Natasha earned her Chartered Life Underwriter designation in 2022. She is also co-host of Quotacy’s YouTube series. Connect with her on LinkedIn.