OPM has told agencies to remind their employees that changes in FEGLI coverage elected in the open season last September will take effect as of the first pay period of October.
The open season allowed employees–but not retirees–to join the program or increase existing levels of coverage without experiencing a life event or without submitting proof of insurability (the two provisions allowing enrollment or changes outside open seasons). However, a one-year waiting period was imposed, meaning that both the coverage changes elected and the new premiums reflecting them have yet to take effect.
OPM gave agencies a sample email to send employees in early October telling them that the changes are about to take effect, so long as they are in pay and duty status, and reminding them that “this is not a new opportunity to elect FEGLI coverage.”
A second email, to be sent at the end of October, will remind employees to review their leave and earnings statements for the pay distribution reflecting the first pay period of the month to make sure any election did take effect–and to give a point of contact if it did not. Pay periods vary among agencies, depending on the payroll provider the agency uses.
That email also warns employees that they “may have completed their FEGLI open season elections incorrectly by signing only for Basic and for new coverage, accidentally canceling their current optional coverage in the process.” Such errors can be corrected but only if the employee notifies an agency point of contact by November 11.
To carry a particular level of FEGLI coverage into retirement, it must have been in effect for the five years before retirement or from the “first opportunity” to elect it, if within those five years. The open season didn’t count as a first opportunity; those retiring before October 2022 thus can’t carry into retirement any increases elected during that period, although that coverage will apply while they remain employed.
FEGLI open seasons are rare; before the one last year, the most recent was in 2004.