Although many federal employees and retirees approach their decisions on the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program as a once-a-lifetime choice, those decisions are not irrevocable. That could be a useful feature for those whose personal, work or family situations could change and make it helpful—or necessary—to change coverage.

Any employee or retiree who is eligible for coverage under the program—and that includes the vast majority—and who has not joined it yet still may join it. However, they must undergo “full” underwriting that asks for a substantial amount of information about their health and lifestyle habits. Only newly hired employees are eligible for “abbreviated” underwriting that asks more limited questions (all active employees, although not retirees, were eligible for abbreviated underwriting during the open seasons of 2002 and 2011).

For those who are enrolled, changes also are possible. An enrollee can decrease to anything that is available under the program, and premiums (which will be based on original age) will also decrease. Enrollees would not have to undergo new underwriting in order to decrease your coverage. However, there is no “paid-up benefit” crediting for premiums already paid for a higher level of coverage. Also, an enrollee can drop out at any time, although there will be no refund of premiums already paid.

An enrollee at any time also can request an increase in coverage. However, in order to receive approval of a request for an increase outside of open season, the enrollee would have to provide, at his or her own expense, evidence of good health that is satisfactory the carrier. The amount of an increase is subject to what’s then available under the program. The additional premium will be based on the enrollee’s age and the premium rates in effect at the time the increase takes effect.