This article was originally published June 2, 2020
Enrolling in FEGLI
When first becoming a federal employee, those positions which qualify are automatically enrolled in FEGLI (Federal Employee Group Life Insurance) Basic. At that time, they can waive this “basic coverage,” or elect to also enroll in one, two, or all three of the FEGLI Options: A, B, & C, explanations of which can be found here. Besides new employees, the other types of federal workers that can enroll in FEGLI are employees who:
1. were in a position that was ineligible for FEGLI and recently took a position that is eligible, or
2. left federal service for a period greater of 180 days and then rejoined, or
3. is a DoD employee that is considered “emergency essential,” or
4. is a civilian employee deployed to support a “contingency operation,” which is basically any military operation where armed forces might become, or are, actively involved.
Dropping & Adding Coverage
If not in one of those four categories above, adding FEGLI coverage for an existing Federal worker can get tricky. Dropping coverage isn’t a problem, OPM just needs form SF-2817 from your employing agency. Because it can become difficult to add coverage, however, those who drop or cancel their coverage should be relatively certain that it is what they want to do before submitting the form. For adding coverage, there are three possible routes to take: participate in a “FEGLI Open Season,” get a physical and qualify for the desired FEGLI coverage, or request the additional insurance within 60 days of experiencing a “Qualifying Life Event” (QLE).
FEGLI Open Seasons: Defined by Infrequency
Unlike FEHB Open Seasons, which occur annually, FEGLI Open Seasons are notoriously rare. Since the program’s inception in August of 1954, there have only been ten of them, and none are currently scheduled for the future. The last open season ran from September 1st to September 30th, 2016, and was the first such event since 2004. Before that open season, there was only a five-year gap, though, with an open season happening in 1999. In these infrequent seasons, any eligible federal employee can enroll in additional coverage without seeing their physician.
Besides open season, there is always the option of undergoing a physical with your primary care provider. The purpose of the doctor visit must be explicitly for a physical for life insurance purposes, and the evaluation provided by the doctor has to be received by FEGLI’s administrative office within 60 days of its occurrence. This timeframe is identical to that given for employees to provide proof of a QLE, the third and final method for a Fed to gain more FEGLI coverage.
Qualifying Life Events for FEGLI
The life events that allow a worker for the federal government to add FEGLI coverage outside of a rare open season and without physician approve include:
-Birth (or adoption) of a child- or, as OPM coldly phrases it- “the acquisition of an eligible child.”
Like the physician’s approval, proof of the QLE must be provided within 60 days of the event’s occurrence. (During the COVID-19 crisis, verification of the proof can be delayed by processors, but not the 60-day timeframe in which they must receive the documents. Read more about it here.)
Notice that retirement from the federal government is not a QLE, even though retirement is when employees, who probably hardly thought about FEGLI during their careers, start to pay attention to what they elected. If you need help with making decisions about FEGLI before retirement or have any questions about life insurance in general, you can connect with one of Serving Those Who Serve’s financial advisors, who are all Chartered Federal Employee Benefit Specialists, (ChFEBC)-
Until Next Time,
**Written by Benjamin Derge, Financial Planner. The information has been obtained from sources considered reliable but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Benjamin Derge and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize, or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors.
FEGLI Qualifying Life Events