Evaluating Life Insurance Coverage Outside of Open Season

Although Open Season is over, it’s a great time to evaluate your life insurance coverage. How would your family’s income be impacted if you passed away? What if you receive a terminal diagnosis? What will your family need to retain financial stability?

These are all issues that federal employees can address at any point in the year, thanks to WAEPA’s Group Term Life Insurance at any point in the year. Below we’ve highlighted some key questions and answers pertaining to life insurance options for federal employees.

What Insurance Options are Available for Federal Employees?

Civilian federal employees are afforded two basic options for life insurance: coverage offered through the government (FEGLI) or coverage offered by private companies or non-profit organizations.

FEGLI is available to all qualifying employees and can include coverage for spouses and dependents. While individuals may enroll without being subject to a physical examination, there are restrictions on when this applies.

In contrast, private companies and non-profit organizations, such as WAEPA, usually require a medical underwriting process ― as such, resulting premiums may cost less than those offered by FEGLI.

How Is Cost Determined?

FEGLI policies are separated into two types: Basic and Optional. Rates increase every five years and are based on how much coverage you select. This is usually calculated in terms of your salary and is capped at five times your salary.

Based on results of medical underwriting conducted by New York Life Insurance, WAEPA is provided on an “approved” or “not approved” basis. If you are accepted for coverage from us, you qualify for up to $1.5 million, not capped by your pay rate.

How Do You Enroll?

Enrollment in FEGLI Basic coverage is automatic for new federal employees unless they opt out. There are specific cases of special enrollment when employees may apply by undergoing a physical exam or with a qualifying life event. These include:

  • Acquisition of a child deemed eligible
  • Marriage
  • Death of a spouse
  • Divorce

There are also periods of open enrollment, but they occur infrequently. The last open enrollment was in 2016, and the one before was in 2004.

With WAEPA, you can enroll at any point in your federal career, given you are under the age of 70, and we offer a Chronic Illness Rider that serves as a valuable “living benefit” to your life insurance.

What Happens After You Leave Federal Employment?

FEGLI coverage does not carry with you if you leave federal service. Most employees are given the option to convert their policy to coverage with a private company instead. There are special requirements that must be fulfilled to carry FEGLI coverage into retirement, such as a five-year mandated coverage period prior to retiring.

WAEPA’s coverage is yours to keep, even if you leave the federal government or retire.

WAEPA has been serving civilian federal employees and their families for more than 75 years. Visit our Group Term Life Insurance* page for more information on our coverage and member benefits. If you’d like to speak to someone from our Member Services team, please call us at (800) 368-3484.


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