Issue Briefs

OPM has finalized rules to give retirees a second chance, on turning age 65, to decide whether they want their FEGLI coverage to remain fully in effect or allow it to reduce at a lower cost; currently the only election allowed is at retirement. The change restores a policy that had been in effect up to 2010. Following is OPM’s explanation of the change.

On October 30, 1998, Public Law 105-311,112 Stat. 2950, was signed into law. This law, the Federal Employees Life Insurance Improvement Act, changed many parts of the FEGLI Program. Before the enactment of Public Law 105-311, Option B and C coverage began to reduce for annuitants when they reached age 65. Both coverages reduced by 2% per month until there was no coverage left. This reduction was automatic, and annuitants had no choice.

Public Law 105-311 allows annuitants and persons becoming insured as compensationers to make an election at retirement as to whether they want their Option B and Option C coverage to reduce.

Previous FEGLI regulations provided that shortly before an individual’s 65th birthday, he/she would receive a reminder notice, showing what reduction the annuitant/compensationer elected at the time of retirement and what the premiums would be for coverage beyond age 65. The individual then had an opportunity to change his/her reduction election; including choosing to have some multiples of Optional insurance reduce and others not reduce. For persons who were already over age 65 at the time of retirement or becoming insured as a compensationer, the reminder notice was sent as soon as the retirement processing was completed.

On October 1, 2010, OPM published FEGLI final regulations (75 FR 60573) with miscellaneous changes, clarifications, and corrections, including a change made to 5 CFR 870.705(b) and 870.705(d) ending the reduction election opportunity at age 65.

OPM published a FEGLI proposed rule in the Federal Register, 78 FR 77365, December 23, 2013, proposing to reverse the changes to 5 CFR 870.705(b) and 870.705(d) authorized on October 1, 2010, and inviting public comments. The December 23, 2013 rule proposed to restore the second election opportunity for annuitants and compensationers who attain age 65.

OPM received no comments and will implement the rule as proposed.Show citation box
Public Law 105-311, the Federal Employees Life Insurance Improvement Act, 112 Stat. 2950, enacted October 30, 1998, amended chapter 87 of title 5, U.S. Code, to allow retiring employees to elect either No Reduction or Full Reduction for their Option B and Option C coverage. This election was to be made at the time of retirement, the same as the election for Basic insurance. Implementing this provision required programming changes to the electronic records system for annuitants to allow for “mixed” elections, i.e., electing reductions for some coverage, but not for other coverage. While these system changes were being made, annuitants were required to elect either No Reduction or Full Reduction for all Option B and Option C multiples at the time of retirement. Then, shortly before the annuitant’s 65th birthday, the insured was given a second opportunity to make a reduction election, this time being allowed to choose No Reduction for some multiples and Full Reduction for others. While the law states that the reduction election must be made at the time of retirement, enrollees affected by this provision have expressed interest in having a second reduction election opportunity. Thus, we are restoring the opportunity for a second election at age 65. This change can be found in § 870.705(b) and § 870.705(d).