If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you may wonder how this might affect your life insurance options. Sleep apnea can cause problems with your life insurance policy, such as higher rates or a denial. There is good news. A diagnosis of sleep apnea doesn’t have to keep affecting your policy. Treatment and regular reporting back to the insurance company can help to decrease your premiums, and there are options if you are denied life insurance.
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes the person afflicted with it to stop breathing in their sleep. Sleep apnea can be caused by a disruption in the brain to cause it to stops sending signals to breathe or by an obstruction in the upper airway. Throughout the night, it leads to the oxygen levels in the blood to drop, it puts a strain on the heart and causes loud snoring. The next day, the person does not feel rested and can have problems maintaining their life due to being overly tired.
Several health conditions can cause sleep apnea, and left untreated it can lead to more health problems. For example, untreated sleep apnea leads to hypertension, lung damage, cardiovascular disease, and there is a much higher rate of developing cancer in those with sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea are also known to have a higher rate of serious accidents due to being overly tired, such as vehicle and falling accidents.
Today, there are a variety of treatment options, depending on the type of sleep apnea you have (the obstructive type or brain disruption type described previously) and the severity (mild, moderate or severe). Your doctor will have you do a sleep study to help determine the cause, severity, and the best treatment options for you. Some people shy away from the sleep study because it’s an uncomfortable night away from home, but it’s a significant step for your health and your life insurance premiums, as you will soon see.
From the sleep study, your doctor will diagnose the type of sleep apnea you have and rate the severity. Both are important for the insurance company to know and be able to track improvements. Treatment options include: 1) surgery to create a new air passageway, removal of an obstruction, or jaw repositioning, 2) weight loss, 3) a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine during sleep or 4) a bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machine while you sleep. Your doctor may also prescribe medication like Provigil, Nuvigil, Modafinil, Armodafinil, or others to help fight off sleepiness and increase daytime alertness.
Effects to Life Insurance
As you may imagine, all the health issues associated with sleep apnea can equal issues with life insurance coverage. Especially if you have additional health concerns like being overweight, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, or other health issues. Leaving sleep apnea untreated is dangerous for your overall health. The best thing you can do is to explore your options for treatment and do what your physician recommends.
Applying for life insurance can be tricky, especially if you are rated as high risk due to the sleep apnea type and severity. You may be declined or experience increased rates. If you are declined, you can appeal the decision with your medical records and a letter from your doctor letting them know that your condition is being treated and is improving. If you end up with higher rates, you can decrease them over time as the sleep apnea improves.
What You Can Do
If you are declined or given higher life insurance rates due to being high risk, don’t give up. There are things you can do to help your situation.
- Follow your doctor’s orders to address the sleep apnea and any other health problems you may be experiencing. Take the medication as prescribed, lose weight, change your diet, have the surgery, use the CPAP machine, or whatever is prescribed for you. You will feel better and have evidence of improvement to show the life insurance company.
- Have a sleep study initially and then a repeat one in two to three years. The studies will help establish your progress or if the sleep apnea clears up.
- Continue to go to your scheduled appointments with your physician and follow any changes to your care plan.
- Gather your medical records, including all test results, and make sure they go to the life insurance agency for review.
- Request a letter from your physician explain your response to treatment, medical progress, and any healthy lifestyle changes you make.
- Have your doctor re-evaluate your sleep apnea rating at regular intervals, like annually. Sleep apnea can improve and even resolved with treatment and lifestyle changes.
Life Insurance Coverage
Life insurance companies take a diagnosis of sleep apnea serious; it does not mean that you cannot be approved to have a life insurance policy to protect your loved ones. It also does not mean that you will have to have high premiums for the duration of your policy either. However, it may mean that you do need the assistance of a life insurance agent to help you navigate through the process because it can be more complicated.
Smithfin is a life insurance comparison company that works with a variety of companies like Prudential, MetLife, American National, and more. Working with an experienced Smithfin agent will make the process easier for you. A friendly agent can help you sort through the red tape and find the life insurance coverage you need at a rate that does not break your budget.
Let a Smithfin agent help you today. Call or contact them online at Smithfin.com and allow these experienced professionals help manage the worry of finding the life insurance you need to provide for your loved ones if you are unable to be there.