WASHINGTON – A House panel voted Wednesday to offer more life insurance coverage to federal workers and their families.
The bill would offer workers more choices in choosing a life insurance plan and allow them to increase the amount of optional life insurance for a spouse and children by up to five times the current limits.
Federal workers now may purchase up to $5,000 in life insurance on spouses and $2,500 on children. The bill would raise the limits to $25,000 for spouses and $12,500 for children.
MetLife, the life insurance company that administers the program, said it would not increase the premium rate per $1,000 of coverage.
“The bill will result in far better life insurance coverage to federal employees,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Baltimore.
The House Government Reform and Oversight civil service subcommittee approved an amendment by Cummings that would allow employees to purchase accidental death and dismemberment insurance.
The Cummings amendment also would allow workers to continue additional life insurance beyond age 65 without a reduction in benefits.
Under the current system, additional life insurance continues at no cost to the employee, but after 65 the payout is reduced at the rate of 2 percent per month for 50 months.
“By providing employees the opportunity to continue the full extent of life insurance over 65, we will offer comfort and convenience to federal employees and their families,” Cummings said.
The subcommittee approved a second bill to improve the fraud-fighting capabilities of the Office of Personnel Management by allowing it to impose monetary penalties on federal health care providers that engage in misconduct.
The bill also would extend the Federal Employment Health Benefit Program to employees of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve Board, who now are under their own health plans.
The federal health program “is an outstanding program,” said Rep. Constance A. Morella, R-Montgomery County, “but even among the best programs there is room for improvement.”
The bills will go before the full committee next week and are expected to go to the House the first week in November.
“As Congress comes to a close it is critical that we move this legislation quickly,” Morella said.