Life insurance after retirement


Q. I elected the 75 percent reduction after retiring. I understand that, at age 65, the coverage declines 2 percent per month until it reaches 25 percent of its face value. How can I find out what the “face value” is? Is it the salary at retirement? What if I had the 2X salary? Does that have any bearing? I have been told by some retirees that the final amount is $2,000, and by others that it’s anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000.

A. When you retired, the amount of your basic insurance was equal to your basic pay plus $2,000. Since you elected the 75 percent reduction, beginning at age 65, you will no longer have to pay any premiums, and the value of that coverage will decrease by 2 percent per month until it reaches 25 percent of the original amount; for example, if the face value was $100,000, it would decrease to $25,000 and stay there until you die. If you had Option B coverage, you could have elected coverage up to five times your basic pay rounded up to the next $1,000. Unless you opted to continue that coverage after reaching age 65, for which you would have to continue paying the premiums, it would automatically decline at a rate of 2 percent per month until it reached zero after 50 months.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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