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Image of young man taking a nap for Quotacy blog How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Life Insurance Rates?

Does Sleep Apnea Affect Life Insurance Rates?

December 27, 2023
Our goal is to educate and advise on life insurance options, so you can feel confident in making the right choice, whether that’s through Quotacy or somewhere else. To ensure we provide accurate and trustworthy information, our writers follow strict editorial standards.

Various health issues affect life insurance rates, including sleep apnea. Nearly 29 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 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 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.

Learn about other pre-existing conditions, how they impact rates, and what your alternatives are.

See what you’d pay for life insurance

Comparison shop prices on custom coverage amounts from the nation’s top carriers with Quotacy.

Sleep Apnea and 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 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 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?

There are some important risk factors that must be considered when underwriting someone suspected of having, or diagnosed with, sleep apnea. Many carriers consider the impact of the health and lifestyle factors in the table below when underwriting these individuals:

FavorableRisk FactorsLess Favorable
50 years or olderAgeUnder 50 years old
Confirmed by a sleep studyDiagnosis StatusSuspected, but not confirmed
More than a year agoTime Since Diagnosis1 year or less
Normal weightBody Mass IndexOverweight or obese
Moderate or betterSeverity of Condition Pre-TreatmentSevere or worse
YesSleep Study CompletedNo or results unknown
Use of CPAP or BiPAPCourse of TreatmentNo use

It is important to note that a single unfavorable risk factor does not necessarily mean you won’t be offered coverage. Your entire health and lifestyle profile will be evaluated.

Information on the Sleep Study

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.

When looking to buy life insurance, it’s important that you know that various health issues, like sleep apnea, can impact your rates. While millions are affected by sleep apnea, being accepted for coverage is possible. However, insurance companies view this condition as a risk, potentially affecting your rates.

The bright side? Insurance companies handle health impairments like sleep apnea differently. At Quotacy, we specialize in navigating the market to find affordable life insurance rates tailored to you and your family’s needs.

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.

If you’re more interested in whole life insurance quotes, we can help with that too.

Take the first step in financial peace of mind today.

Watch the Life Insurance Sleep Apnea Video


  1. Mercedes

    I have been denied from my government insurance and my cpac company machine get me rid of my machine ☹because I don’t have insurance anymore. I have been very depressed about my sleeping at night, what to do now whiout my cpac machine.

    • Natasha Cornelius

      Mercedes, I am very sorry to hear about your sleep issues. Good sleep is so important for our health. There are organizations that will help people with financial hardship obtain CPAP machines. Check out the American Sleep Apnea Association and the Reggie White Foundation.


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