Retirement & Financial Planning Report

While very few employees waive their FEGLI Basic coverage, a lot more don’t sign up for one or more of the optional forms of coverage during the 31-day period following their initial appointment. If you are one of those who waived coverage, there are circumstances under which you can enroll at a later date.

Open Season–When there are changes in the program’s provisions, the Office of Personnel Management holds an open season. That’s when those of you who aren’t currently covered by FEGLI can either enroll. Unfortunately, these are few and far between. The most recent open seasons were held in 1999 and 2004.

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Proof of Insurability–As long as a full year has gone by since you last waived your right to FEGLI coverage, you can apply to enroll if you provide medical evidence of your insurability at your own expense. To begin the process, you’ll have to fill out a copy of Standard Form 2822, Request for Life Insurance. The only way to get a copy is by going online at www.opm.gov/forms.

Once you have the form in hand, you’ll need to take it to your personnel office, which will complete its part of the form. Then you’ll have to take it to your medical provider, who, after examining you, will complete the form and send it to the Office of Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance. If your request is approved by OFEGLI, you’ll automatically be covered by Basic insurance. On the other hand, if you already have Basic insurance and only waived your right to enroll in one or more of the optional insurances, you will be given 31 days to do one of the following: elect Option A (Standard) and/or Option B (Additional Optional) or increase your Option B multiples. To do that, you’ll have to complete a copy of SF 2817, Life Insurance Election, and take it to your personnel office. You can download a copy at

You can’t elect Option C (Family) coverage by providing evidence of medical insurability. You aren’t the one who is being insured; they are.

Qualifying Life Events–The term “qualifying life event” applies to such things as marriage, divorce, the death of your spouse, and the birth or adoption of a child. If you are an employee who is already covered by Basic insurance, you may either elect Option B or C coverage or increase the amount of that coverage. But you’ll have to do that within 60 days of the qualifying event. You can do it by filling out a copy of SF 2817, Life Insurance Election, and submitting it to your personnel office. Note: You can’t elect Basic or Option A coverage because of a qualifying life event. As noted above, you’ll have to provide evidence of medical insurability to do that.

These options apply only while you are actively employed. Retirees can decrease or cancel, but can’t increase, their FEGLI coverage. Thus, if you wish to have more FEGLI insurance in your retirement years, you’ll have to do it while still actively employed—in most cases, that will have to be done through the proof or insurability route.