Sleep apnea: You snooze, you lose
Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleeping disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. A similar disorder called narcolepsy causes a person to suddenly fall asleep without warning.
Goldstein says these conditions concern insurers on two fronts.
"It's certainly the issue of daytime somnolence and motor vehicle accidents or operating any other kind of vehicle or machinery where you can endanger yourself because of the somnolence. But actually, severe sleep apnea can be associated with high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, et cetera, so it's more those associated issues that make it a risk classification matter."
Goldstein has good news for sufferers of this rare condition, however.
"I don't want to say that it never affects the risk class, but even if it is a severe degree of sleep apnea, if it is well-controlled and well-managed, they can get very favorable underwriting. It's only when it is severe and untreated that it becomes a risk classification issue," she says.