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An hourglass with sand running through it. On the side is the FEGLI logo and the words Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance. Open Season: September 1- 30, 2016

Most Federal employees make a decision about life insurance coverage when they join the Federal Government and rarely revisit that decision. But as the circumstances of our lives change, so does our need for protection.

Beginning on September 1 and continuing throughout the month, it will be Open Season for Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI). This is an opportunity for Federal employees and their families to consider what levels of protection might be appropriate for them and either to enroll in FEGLI for the first time or make changes to their coverage. The availability of life insurance coverage is just one of the comprehensive packages of health and other benefits available to all Federal employees.

Importantly, if you enroll for the first time or change your coverage, there will be no medical exam required and no health questions to answer. Paying for the coverage is simple: premiums are deducted from your paycheck.

Financial issues to take into consideration when making a life insurance coverage decision include preparing for burial expenses, medical costs, and the loss of salary and benefits when a loved one passes away.  Additional child care costs, elder care costs, transportation needs, assistance with maintaining a home, and other lifestyle concerns may also be part of the equation.

As a Federal employee, you were probably automatically enrolled in FEGLI Basic insurance when you first joined the Federal service, unless you waived this coverage. Basic insurance covers your life for whichever is greater: Your annual rate of basic pay, rounded up to the next whole $1,000, plus $2,000; or $10,000. This is called the Basic Insurance Amount (BIA). The Government pays one-third of the premium cost for Basic and you pay two-thirds.

If more life insurance coverage is appropriate for your family, as a Federal employee you can add an additional $10,000 of coverage (Option A) and/or additional coverage in an amount one to five times your annual rate of basic pay (Option B).

Finally, with Option C, you can elect coverage on the lives of your spouse and eligible dependent children under age 22.  You can have one to five multiples of Option C.  Each multiple is worth $5,000 on the life of your spouse and $2,500 on the lives of each eligible child. 

If you and your family are satisfied with your current FEGLI coverage, you don’t need to do anything.  Employees can always elect coverage within 60 days of a FEGLI qualifying life event – such as marriage or the birth of a child - or at any time by passing a physical exam.  If you elect to take a physical exam, you can select any coverage that FEGLI offers, except the Option C family coverage.

Employees and annuitants can cancel coverage, reduce coverage, or change beneficiaries at any time. As a reminder, this Open Season is a great time to update your beneficiaries if they don’t reflect your current wishes.

If you decide to enroll for the first time or change the coverage you have now, you should know that the coverage will take effect a year from now, during the first full pay period in October 2017, as long as you meet pay and duty status requirements, meaning you are actively working.  For most biweekly employees, this means coverage will be effective on October 1, 2017.  For most Postal employees, this means coverage will be effective on October 14, 2017.

Employees who are approaching retirement should note that all regular rules for continuing FEGLI into retirement still apply. This includes the requirement that for any types or multiples of coverage an employee wishes to bring with them into retirement, the employee must have that coverage throughout their last five years of Federal service, or their entire period or periods of service if they retire with less than five years of service.

So because coverage elected during the FEGLI Open Season will be effective no sooner than October 2017, if an employee wants to bring their open season coverage into retirement, they must retire in October 2022 or later, five years after the coverage they selected during Open Season becomes effective.

For more information on FEGLI Open Season and FEGLI in general, including current premium amounts, please visit: www.opm.gov/FEGLIopenseason


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