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For a small number of individuals it may make sense to waive premium conversion. There are two items to consider in making a decision to waive participation and they are:
Under IRS rules, you may reduce coverage (cancel, or change from Self and Family to Self Only) only during an Open Season or at the time of a qualifying life event.
Paying your premiums with pre-tax money reduces your earnings reported to the Social Security Administration. When you begin to collect Social Security (normally this occurs at age 65), you may receive a slightly lower Social Security benefit. The extent of the impact will vary depending upon the retirement system you participate in, your salary compared with the Social Security wage base ($87,000 in 2003) and the number of years until you retire.
A Living Benefit payment is a lump sum payment to those who are terminally ill and have a documented medical prognosis showing a life expectancy of no more than nine months. You are eligible to elect a Living Benefit if you are an employee, annuitant, or compensationer and you are enrolled in the FEGLI Program.
Employees can choose a full or partial (a multiple of $1,000) Living Benefit. Annuitants and compensationers can elect only a full Living Benefit.
A Living Benefit is equal to the Basic Life insurance amount, plus any extra benefit for persons under age 45, that would be in effect nine months after the date of the Office of Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (OFEGLI) receives a completed claim for Living Benefits form.
If you have assigned your life insurance, you cannot elect a Living Benefit.
Living Benefit payments are reduced by a nominal amount (4.9%) to make up for lost earnings to the Life Insurance Fund because of the early payment of benefits.
The election of Living Benefits has no effect on the amount of any Optional life insurance. You will continue to pay premiums for any Optional insurance you have.
You must contact OFEGLI at 1-800-633-4542 to obtain the form to elect Living Benefits (Form FE-8). This form is not available from your human resources office or the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
If an employee who canceled FEHB coverage to use CHAMPVA, TRICARE or TRICARE-for-Life decides to return to FEHB coverage, the employee can do so during a future Open Season. If the employee loses CHAMPVA, TRICARE or TRICARE-for-Life coverage involuntarily, the employee can immediately reenroll in the FEHB Program.
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