Life Insurance For People With Sleep Apnea In 2024

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Written by
Bob Phillips
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If you are one of the estimated 42 million Americans suffering from sleep apnea, and wondering about life insurance options, you’ve arrived at the right place. The insurance world can be complicated, but not to worry, we’re here to help.

We’ve collated the results of our research on life insurance and sleep apnea to offer you comprehensive information that will help guide you toward the best decision for your insurance needs.

Advancements in medicine and a much deeper understanding of sleep apnea have altered the landscape as far as life insurance is concerned. Nowadays, numerous providers offer term insurance as well as whole life options for those living with sleep apnea.

We’ll look into these options, along with tips on how to qualify for life insurance with this condition, coverage details, and more along those lines, to help you gain an understanding of how to secure the best life insurance coverage for your needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Life insurance for individuals with sleep apnea is available

  • Premiums are ordinarily higher for sleep apnea life insurance

  • Underwriting for people with sleep apnea can be complicated and lengthier

Can I Get Life Insurance If I Have Sleep Apnea?

The answer is yes, you can get life insurance if you have sleep apnea.

This was not always true, but thanks to major medical advancements and more knowledge of sleep apnea, the insurance industry has changed its position as time has gone by. Quite a few leading insurers nowadays (detailed below) provide both term and whole life insurance options for people diagnosed with sleep apnea.

Although it’s encouraging that life insurance options are available for those with sleep apnea, the unvarnished reality is that not all insurers offer this coverage, and some may deny it. But, this doesn’t mean that life insurance for sleep apnea sufferers is out of reach.

Multiple insurance providers have recognized the need for life insurance among the segment of the population with sleep apnea, and are offering policies especially designed for those living with the condition.

Important: Life insurance for sleep apnea is available, though the coverage might be limited and potentially more expensive.

How Does Having Sleep Apnea Affect My Life Insurance Eligibility?

While standard life insurance coverage may not be totally accessible to everyone with sleep apnea, there are insurance companies out there that offer specialized products. These companies offer traditional life insurance for applicants with sleep apnea who demonstrate that they’re proactive about managing their condition. Additionally, some applicants might also qualify for group or guaranteed issue life insurance.

People who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea should research and understand the specifics involved when looking for life insurance coverage. It may be a challenge, but the peace of mind, security and financial protection these policies provide is priceless.

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea after already taking out a life insurance policy, your policy can’t be canceled due to your diagnosis. This highlights the importance of securing a life insurance policy as soon as possible.

Important: A life insurance policy can’t be rescinded or have the rates raised if you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea after the policy has been issued.

Life Insurance Underwriting Process For Individuals With Sleep Apnea

A basic understanding of the underwriting process can make it possible to purchase a life insurance policy that fits your needs. Here are 5 critical steps involved in the underwriting process for anyone diagnosed with sleep apnea:

  1. Medical Examination: This is the first step in underwriting in order to be approved for coverage. If you can’t make it through this step, you probably won’t get any farther. You will undergo a medical exam where the insurance provider will make an assessment of your overall health condition, focusing on your sleep apnea management along with any other chronic conditions you might have.
  2. Review of Medical History: The insurer will request access to your medical records. They’ll be particularly interested in your sleep apnea and how it’s being managed.
  3. Lifestyle Evaluation: The underwriters will review your lifestyle, including habits like smoking, drug use, and alcohol consumption. A healthy lifestyle can have a positive influence on your application approval.
  4. Risk Assessment: Based on the information collected, the underwriters will assess the level of risk associated with insuring your life. This assessment will directly affect the cost of your insurance policy if you are approved.
  5. Policy Issuance: If you pass the underwriting process, the insurer will offer coverage. Depending on the results of the risk assessment, this may be accompanied by higher premiums or exclusions.

What Do Life Insurance Companies Consider When You’re Applying With Sleep Apnea?

When you’re applying for life insurance as someone diagnosed with sleep apnea, you should understand that insurance providers will take a long look at a number of key factors.

First, they’ll want to see some evidence that your condition is being managed effectively. They’ll probably ask for access to your medical history to review your symptoms and treatment of sleep apnea, as well as the severity. If your records show that your condition is stable and well-managed, it could favorably affect your approval for life insurance.

Also, your lifestyle plays a leading role in the underwriting process. Insurers will assess your overall health and lifestyle choices, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and drug use. A healthy lifestyle contributes positively to your application. Your age, family medical history and gender will also be considered.

Since sleep apnea can contribute to a number of serious health problems, underwriters will want to know about any other symptoms you may have such as trouble breathing, heart trouble and more. Taking into consideration that being overweight can cause or exacerbate sleep apnea, they’ll look at your weight and BMI, too.

Best Type Of Life Insurance For People With Sleep Apnea

What types of life insurance are available if you suffer from sleep apnea? Here are 5 types of policies that you might consider:

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance gives life long coverage and also comes with a cash value that increases over time. For people with sleep apnea, whole life insurance can be beneficial because it offers guaranteed death benefits and doesn’t expire. But, it usually has higher premiums than term life insurance.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance coverage is for a specified period, typically between ten to thirty-five years. This type of policy is often less expensive than whole life insurance, making it a good option for individuals with sleep apnea who are on a budget but still want substantial coverage.

Final Expense Life Insurance

Final expense life insurance, sometimes called burial or funeral insurance, is designed to cover end of life expenses. These policies normally have more lenient underwriting requirements, which can be helpful to individuals with sleep apnea who may run into difficulties qualifying for other types of life insurance.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance provides coverage to almost anyone and everyone, regardless of their health condition. It might be a viable option for people with sleep apnea who have been denied coverage elsewhere. Just be aware that it typically has  higher premiums and lower coverage.

Group Life Insurance

Group life insurance is often provided by employers as part and parcel of an employee benefits package. For people with sleep apnea, this can be a great way to secure life insurance coverage minus the underwriting process common to individual policies.

Important: Living benefit riders can also be a lifeline for individuals living with sleep apnea. These optional additions to your policy can allow you to access a portion of your death benefit while still alive to help cover treatment expenses.

How To Buy Life Insurance If You Have Sleep Apnea

Following these four steps will simplify buying life insurance for sleep apnea:

  1. Research Your Options: Start by researching life insurance companies that offer policies for individuals living with sleep apnea. Some insurers offer both term and whole life insurance options, so it’s important to understand the differences and decide which is best for you.
  2. Understand the Underwriting Process: Be aware that most life insurance applications will require you to disclose your sleep apnea status. The underwriting process might be more intensive and could potentially lead to higher premiums.
  3. Consider Employer or Group Coverage: If available, consider group life insurance options through your employer. These policies often provide coverage regardless of health conditions, including sleep apnea. In most cases, you don’t even have to get a physical exam.
  4. Apply for Coverage: Once you’ve selected an insurance company and policy that suits your needs, complete your application process. This may include filling out detailed health questionnaires and undergoing a medical examination.

How Much Does Life Insurance Cost If You Have Sleep Apnea?

Here are some approximate rates for 20 year term life insurance if you have sleep apnea:

Age Gender Non-smoker Smoker
25 Female $31.93 $76.79
Male $38.89 $101.16
35 Female $38.18 $104.95
Male $46.36 $134.30
45 Female $77.39 $229.32
Male $96.97 $306.46
55 Female $171.50 $506.44
Male $241.86 $706.16

How To Qualify For Life Insurance With Sleep Apnea

In order to qualify for life insurance if you have sleep apnea, insurance providers will normally require proof that you’re managing your condition effectively. This involves providing medical history records that demonstrate evidence of regular check-ups with your primary provider, along with adherence to your prescribed therapy.

Other factors including age, overall health status, lifestyle choices like smoking, and family medical history will also be considered.

Submitting a persuasive application will help when trying to purchase life insurance with sleep apnea. Demonstrate to the  insurer that you’re not only living with sleep apnea, but thriving with it. Emphasize your commitment to adhering to a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and abstinence from harmful habits such as excessive alcohol consumption, smoking or drug use.

Can Insurance Companies Deny You Coverage For Having Sleep Apnea?

Yes, insurance providers can deny your application for coverage. This sometimes happens when the applicant hasn’t been truthful about their condition, and failed to disclose their sleep apnea diagnosis during the application process, or if the applicant’s health condition is deemed too risky by underwriters.

Please note that advancements in medicine have greatly improved the treatment for sleep apnea. This has led to longer life expectancy as well as a shift in how insurance carriers view the insurability of those living with sleep apnea.

Perhaps the most important factor in whether or not an insurance company will approve your application for coverage, along with how much you will have to pay for that coverage, is whether or not your sleep apnea is well controlled. The underlying cause of your sleep apnea will be scrutinized, too. For example, if a heart condition is causing you to have sleep apnea, this could affect your insurability and your rates.

What Will Insurers Ask About Your Condition? –

Here are some questions you’ll probably be asked by the insurance company when you apply for life insurance coverage:

  • When were you diagnosed with sleep apnea?
  • What is the severity of your symptoms?
  • What type of sleep apnea do you have?
  • Do you have other conditions related to your sleep apnea?
  • What treatment are you following?
  • What medications are you taking?
  • What sleep studies have you undergone?
  • What is your Oxygen Saturation Level? (O2 Sat)

Always provide honest answers to these types of questions from an insurer. Not divulging your true health condition is one of the only two reasons an insurance provider can cancel your coverage.

Life Insurance Options If You Are Denied Coverage

If your sleep apnea is severe and you are unable to secure traditional life insurance, all is not lost. In that event, you can consider alternative types of coverage. One such option is the Graded Death Benefit policy. This type of policy increases its death benefit gradually, over time.

So, the longer you have it in force, the larger your death benefit will be until it maxes out. Guaranteed Issue policies are another option to traditional life insurance, offered by a variety of companies.

Group life insurance coverage through an employer offers coverage no matter what health problems you may have, sleep apnea included. There are also specialized services like Insuranceopedia, which help those living with sleep apnea shop for life insurance by providing quotes from multiple carriers.

Important: Guaranteed issue policies are an excellent option if other companies have denied your application for whole, universal, or term life insurance policies.

Tips For Choosing The Right Policy

Here are 3 simple yet effective tips that can shorten your search for life insurance:

Know Your Needs: If you don’t already understand your financial needs, take the time to get a firm grasp of them. Don’t guesstimate. Factor in your debt, how much will be needed to replace your income for a number of years, as well as future expenses.

Explore Policy Types: Check out Graded Death Benefit policies along with Guaranteed Issue life insurance. Both of these have been designed for people living with sleep apnea or other chronic health condition. Group life insurance will usually cover you regardless of any health conditions you might have.

Use Specialized Services: Avail yourself of services such as Insuranceopedia, that provides quotes from multiple insurers, to assist you in comparing rates and also finding a life insurance policy that is not only affordable, but suitable for your needs, as well.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a physical disorder that causes disruptions in your breathing while you are sleeping. Apart from snoring, having your sleep disrupted, and often feeling tired fatigue during the day; sleep apnea may be accompanied by serious health consequences.

It is often associated with health conditions such as:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Obesity

Men are more apt to have sleep apnea than women. Hispanic people, African Americans, and Native Americans, as well as people over 50, are also more prone to sleep apnea than  other groups and ages. It’s influenced by other factors, too, including alcohol consumption, drug usage and back sleeping.

Sleep apnea is a serious sleeping disorder that is associated with premature death. Screening, as in a sleep study, and early detection can help lessen the impact of sleep apnea on your life overall.

There are four levels used to gauge the severity of sleep apnea. The apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) is a measurement that is used to count the number of times breathing pauses during each hour of sleep.

The AHI is an indicator of how severe your sleep apnea is—the higher the number, the more dangerous.

AHI Per Hour (Apnea-Hypopnea Index) Severity of Apnea
< 5 Normal, minim
> 30 Severe

If you have sleep apnea that is managed using proven treatment methods—like Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines, for example—and have no other risk factors, you should qualify for standard, or even preferred, life insurance premium rates.

Other sleep apnea treatments may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Use of tongue retaining devices
  • Use of mouthguards
  • Orofacial therapy

About 80% of sleep apnea sufferers experience moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea that goes undiagnosed. Beyond the lack of quality sleep, people with more severe forms of sleep apnea can end up with health complications such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Strokes
  • Other cardiovascular problems
  • An increased risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • Depression
  • Increased risk of accidents involving driving or the use of heavy machinery

Other Health Concerns That Can Affect Your Life Insurance

When you apply for life insurance, insurers evaluate your health status to determine the risk they’re taking on. Here’s a list of 17 common health conditions that can significantly impact your life insurance policy:

  • Sleep apnea: With advancements in treatment, many insurers now offer policies to sleep apnea-positive individuals
  • Heart Disease: A common condition that can lead to higher premiums or denial of coverage
  • Cancer: Depending on the type and stage, cancer can affect insurability
  • Diabetes: Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can increase premium rates
  • High Blood Pressure: Well-managed hypertension may have less impact on your policy
  • High Cholesterol: Can lead to higher premiums if not well-controlled
  • Obesity: Higher BMI can result in increased insurance costs
  • Asthma: Depending on the severity, asthma can influence insurance premiums
  • Depression: Mental health conditions like depression can also impact coverage
  • Alzheimer’s/Dementia: These conditions can significantly affect insurability
  • Stroke: Having a history of stroke can increase premium rates
  • Kidney Disease: Chronic kidney disease can lead to higher insurance costs
  • Liver Disease: Conditions like cirrhosis can affect your life insurance policy
  • Lung Disease: Chronic conditions like COPD can increase premiums
  • Sleep Apnea: This condition can lead to higher insurance rates if not well-managed
  • Substance Use Disorders: A history of drug or alcohol abuse can impact insurability
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: This chronic condition can lead to increased premiums


Do people with sleep apnea qualify for life insurance?

They can. Some, but not all, life insurance companies will issue policies to individuals who are sleep apnea positive.

What insurance is best for sleep apnea?

In many cases, a guaranteed issue policy is the best life insurance for people with sleep apnea.

Is sleep apnea classed as a critical illness in insurance?

Generally, no. However, some insurers may classify it as a critical illness if you are diagnosed with sleep apnea after the policy was issued.

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