Life Insurance and CPAP Machines

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If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, or the mixed type, this may be affecting your life insurance policy.  A diagnosis of sleep apnea can affect your life insurance rates for different reasons and to varying degrees, or even the ability to have a life insurance policy.  The reasons for this diagnosis affecting life insurance policies is complicated, so let’s look at some of the details and reasoning behind sleep apnea and what you can do after receiving this diagnosis to find life insurance.

It’s important to understand the health effects of the different types of sleep apnea, which may have been explained in detail by your physician.  Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is when the muscles and tissue in the throat relax and block air from going in or out of the lungs.  This will cause you to stop breathing for about 10 seconds, and if you have 5 or more of these in an hour, then you will be diagnosed with OSA.  Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) is where the brain temporarily stops sending signals to the muscles that control your breathing, so you will stop breathing throughout the night.  It is possible to have both types, so a diagnosis of Mixed Type will be given.  The sleep apnea diagnosis will also be rated as mild, moderate, or severe, and is another factor life insurance companies take into account.

Either diagnosis can be fatal without treatment, and you will likely feel tired all the time, have trouble focusing, and feel irritable because you are not sleeping well.  There are health risks and other health problems often involved with sleep apnea like high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrhythmia, glaucoma, obesity, depression, diabetes, and chronic fatigue.  The most common treatment today is a Chronic Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP machine.  A CPAP can come with different masks depending on which one will work best for your condition and is the most comfortable.  The purpose is to provide enough air pressure to keep your airway open to stop interruptions in breathing and allow you to get restful sleep.  Surgery is another option.

A diagnosis of sleep apnea will not necessarily lead to higher insurance rates or a denial.  This is where it becomes more complicated.  Life insurance carriers take into account any other health issues you have that can have an impact on your overall health with the sleep apnea.  For example, if you also carry a diagnosis of congestive heart failure with sleep apnea, and it’s rated at severe, then you will likely be a higher risk than if you have no other health problems.   You may be declined, have a higher insurance rate, or be required to take an alternative life insurance policy.  Because apnea puts a strain on the heart, if you have any heart-related problems like high blood pressure, arrhythmia, a history of a heart attack, and so on, then you will be in a higher risk category.

While the news may seem gloomy, there are things you can do to help your case.  The most significant to do is to make sure you are following your physician’s advice and directions.  Remember that sleep apnea can be fatal without treatment, and this is a major consideration if you are not following your doctor’s orders.  You want to follow all of their directions, not just for the sleep apnea.  If you need to lose some weight, change your diet, stop smoking or drinking, or take certain medication, then make sure you follow the directions to the letter.  If not for your life insurance, do it for your life and to feel good.

When applying for life insurance, you will be required to answer some questions.  In addition to responding to these questions, it’s a good idea to have your medical and treatment records.  A letter stating that you are following your health plan from your medical provider will help the insurance company see that you are following your treatment and working to improve your health.  Some of the questions you want to prepare yourself to answer are:

  • How old were you when you were diagnosed with sleep apnea?  Which type of sleep apnea were you diagnosed with and how severe is it?
  • Have you had a sleep study, and if so, when?  It’s a good to have your results.
  • Have you been diagnosed with other health related issues, and if so, what?
  • What kind of treatment is recommended for the apnea and how often do you use it (unless it was surgery).
  • Do you smoke cigarettes or have a history of smoking?  If so, they will want more details.

If you are rated a high risk for life insurance and denied, you can appeal the decision.  You should also know that the rating can change if you follow your physician’s orders and improve your health.  Your health status can be revisited to decrease your rates as your health improves.  Also, if you are overweight and lose the recommended amount of weight, the sleep apnea can improve and in some cases stop altogether.

After receiving a diagnosis of sleep apnea, you have a lot of things to think about, especially if you have other health issues.  You want life insurance to protect your loved ones.  You need to gather your medical records and address your health problems.  To make things easier, contact a friendly professional Smithfin agent for help.  They will work to find the best life insurance policy at a rate that fits your budget while you are free to focus on your health and gathering medical records.

Smithfin is a life insurance comparison company that specializes in helping people with high-risk medical issues to find the life insurance coverage they need.  They will be able to compare different life insurance companies and compete for a rate on your behalf.  Call or visit them online at Smithfin.com today to get an agent working for you.

If you want additional information about Sleep Apnea, here are some linksSleep Apnea  and Sleep Apnea Treatment Options