Over the last three weeks I’ve offered refresher courses on life insurance available through the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance program. I began the series with Basic, which is provided to you automatically unless you decline the coverage, and for which the government pays one-third of the premium cost. Then I moved on to Option A-Standard and Option B-Optional, for which you pay all of the premiums but for which the government has negotiated lower premium rates than if you tried to purchase that coverage on your own. The final option is Option C.

If you are covered by Basic insurance, the Family Option allows you to purchase coverage for your spouse and any unmarried dependent children under age 22, or, if age 22 or over, incapable of self support before reaching age 22. Eligible dependent children include your natural children, adopted children, stepchildren, if they live with you in a regular parent-child relationship, recognized natural children and foster children, if they live with you in a regular parent-child relationship. Not to put too fine a point on it, the Family Option is intended to cover the costs that may occur if one or more of your family members were to die before you.

The amount of the coverage can be up to five multiples of $5,000 for a spouse and $2,500 for each eligible child. The cost of bi-weekly premiums is based on your age and the multiples of coverage you elect. It begins at $0.27 per multiple of coverage at age 35 and rises to $6.00 per multiple at age 80 or older.

Just as was the case with Option B coverage, if you are a retiree who is willing to let the value of the coverage decrease by 2 percent per month beginning at age 65 or when you retire, whichever is later, until it reaches zero, you will no longer have to pay any premiums. However, if you decide to maintain the full level of coverage, your monthly premiums will vary depending on your age, beginning at $6.50 per multiple at age 65 and rising to $13.80 from 80 on. Part C coverage can be cancelled at any time.