Expert's View

If you waived Basic coverage, and later wishes you hadn’t, there are circumstances under which you can still enroll. Image: jannoon028/Shutterstock.com

Over the last few weeks, I described the kinds of insurance coverage offered under the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance program: Basic Insurance, Option A (Standard Optional Insurance), Option B (Additional Optional Insurance), and Option C (Family Optional Insurance).

I said that you are automatically enrolled in Basic coverage if you are appointed to a FEGLI-eligible position unless you waive your right to that coverage. I also pointed out that you can’t sign up for Optional coverage unless you have Basic coverage.

However, if you are one of those employees who waived Basic coverage, and later wishes you hadn’t, there are circumstances under which you can still enroll (or, if already enrolled in Basic, to elect Option A and to elect or increase Option B).

Proof of Insurability—As long as a full year has passed since you last waived your right to FEGLI coverage, you can enroll if you provide medical evidence of your insurability at your own expense. To do that, you’ll have to fill out a copy of Standard Form 2822, Request for Life Insurance. You can download a copy at https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf2822.pdf.

Once you’ve filled out the form, submit it to your personnel office. After they’ve completed their part, take it to your medical provider who will give you a physical. After that, he or she will complete the form and send it to the Office of Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance. The address is on the form.

If OFEGLI approves your request, you’ll automatically be enrolled in Basic Insurance (unless you already have that coverage). If you only waived your right to enroll in one or more of the optional insurances, you’ll then have 31 days to do one of the following: elect Option A (Standard Optional Insurance) and/or Option B (Additional Optional Insurance) or increase your Option B multiples.

Life Events—You also may elect or increase FEGLI coverage up to the maximums based on a life event such as marriage or the birth of a child. See www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/life-events for information on the applicable events and the choices that may be made due to them.

To make that happen, you’ll have to complete a copy of SF 2817, Life Insurance Election, downloadable at https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf2817.pdf and submit it to your personnel office.

Note: You cannot elect Option C or increase existing Option C multiples by providing proof of insurability—although you can get Option C based on a life event.

Open Season—There’s one more circumstance under which you will be allowed to enroll or increase coverage—an open season. Unlike in the FEHB and FEDVIP programs, FEGLI does not conduct regular open seasons but may conduct them following policy changes or substantial changes in premiums. That most recently occurred in 2016, with an open season for active employees (but not retirees) in September of that year.


Former head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management, and longtime FEDweek contributor, Reg Jones is known throughout the federal workforce community as an authority on pay and benefits.

 

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