This article will list the best life insurance companies for sleep apnea in 2016, whether you are compliant and using the CPAP nightly or non-compliant and only using the CPAP machine a few nights a month, or not using it at all.
To begin, sleep apnea is a big rating factor when it comes to life insurance. The reason why is that if left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to many health issues such as high blood pressure, heart failure, heart attack, stroke, type II diabetes, weight gain, asthma, and even auto accidents from drowsiness. A study published a few years ago showed that those with severe sleep apnea left untreated were three times more likely to have premature death. The dangers of sleep apnea are real but fortunately life insurance companies have come a long way in underwriting sleep apnea.
How Does Life Insurance Companies Underwrite Sleep Apnea?
When it comes to life insurance underwriting of sleep apnea, there are a few main points the underwriters want to know. First, if you are having problems sleeping and your physician recommends that you need have to have a sleep study done, most carriers will require you have the sleep study completed before you will be eligible to apply for life insurance. The reason is the underwriter wants to know the severity of the sleep apnea whether it’s; mild, moderate or severe. If diagnosed with mild sleep apnea, meaning apnea index is usually 20 or less then you could be eligible for preferred rates or even preferred plus rates depending on the life insurance company. If the sleep study doctor recommends that you need a CPAP mask, the insurance companies will want to see that you are using it on a nightly basis to be eligible for the preferred health class. If you are not using the CPAP nightly, you will still be eligible for life insurance but not at the best rating class (an exception would be if someone has a great height to weight ratio and has mild sleep apnea, see below).
The Best Life Insurance Companies for Sleep Apnea 2016
We have helped thousands of clients and know how the life insurance companies underwrite sleep apnea. Below is our list of our favorite life insurance companies for sleep apnea and how they rate it.
AIG also known as American General has some of the if not the best underwriting for sleep apnea in the country. Recently, we helped a man diagnosed with mild sleep apnea, not using his CPAP but had a very good height and weight ratio get approved at the best rate class with AIG. While this is not common, it does illustrate how well AIG underwrites sleep apnea.
AIG Sleep Apnea Underwriting:
Mild: Apnea Index 20 or less
Severe: over 50
AIG allows someone with mild sleep apnea, complaint with CPAP mask, i.e. using it nightly, treated for over a year to be eligible for the best rate class. For those over 50, only 6 months of compliant CPAP use is needed. For those with moderate to severe sleep apnea that are not using the CPAP mask nightly are still eligible for life insurance but at a non preferred rating.
Prudential also have very favorable sleep apnea underwriting guidelines. Prudential allows those with mild sleep apnea to be eligible for the best health class with complaint use, nightly use of the CPAP mask. Non-compliant uses if the sleep apnea is mild are still eligible for a good rate.
Voya Financial, also known as ReliaStar also has favorable underwriting for sleep apnea. Voya will allow the applicant to be eligible for their best rate class, Super Preferred, if the applicant uses the CPAP nightly, and has an apnea index less than 20 and a respiratory disturbance less than 30. In addition, Voya will allow the applicant to be taking a blood pressure medication to be eligible for the Super Preferred rate. This is unique as many insurers increase the price for those with sleep apnea while taking a blood pressure medication such as Lisinopril. Those who do not use the CPAP nightly and have mild to moderate sleep apnea may still be eligible for the standard rating.
Mutual of Omaha, also known as United of Omaha will allow a preferred rating class if the applicant has mild sleep apnea and is using the CPAP machine nightly, has a good driving record and is not taking a blood pressure medication. If the applicant has an apnea index over 31 then it will be considered moderate will be eligible for a standard rating after a year of compliant use of the CPAP mask.
Transamerica offers preferred rates for compliant users of the CPAP mask if the sleep apnea is mild. The applicant cannot be taking any blood pressure medications, has to be a non-smoker and have a good driving record. If the applicants apnea index is between 31-50 and has been using the CPAP for more than a year then the standard rate class is possible.
MetLife has recently updated their sleep apnea underwriting guidelines to make them much for favorable. Cases last year that would have been table rated- below average health class rating, are now eligible for preferred rates. For example, a woman that had a sleep study done and was diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea, is not using the prescribed CPAP machine but is losing weight and her snoring has improved may now be eligible for preferred rates with MetLife.
Seniors with Sleep Apnea and Life Insurance
The underwriting for seniors applying for life insurance with sleep apnea is favorable. Similar to diabetes, life insurance companies underwriting guidelines are more relaxed for those over the age of 50 with sleep apnea. For example, a senior over the age of 50 only has to be using the CPAP machine for 6 months to be eligible for the preferred plus rate with mild sleep apnea with AIG, compared to a year of use for those under age 50.
No Medical Exam Life Insurance with Sleep Apnea
There are some life insurance companies that offer no exam life insurance with sleep apnea. For example, Phoenix Life Insurance Company’s underwriting guide lists that it is possible to be approved for their no exam policy with sleep apnea.
Bottom Line- Sleep Apnea and Life Insurance
Life insurance companies have come a long way in underwriting sleep apnea. The main factors the underwriters will look when underwriting someone with sleep apnea in 2016 are; height to weight ratio, apnea index- mild, moderate or severe and compliance in using the prescribed CPAP mask. As seen above, every company underwrites sleep apnea differently. Therefore, it’s paramount to shop and compare rates from multiple companies to ensure you get the best rate and don’t over pay by going with the wrong company who doesn’t underwrite sleep apnea favorably.