If everybody holding a federal employee life insurance policy died today the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and 250 other "reinsuring" firms would be out $61.2 billion in payments to survivors.
That actuarial nightmare is, obviously, a remote possibility. But it does show the magnitude of the world's largest "office" insurance plan, which may be due for a major overhaul next year.
A Civil Service Commission task force has recommended sweeping changes in the program, which covers 2.4 million workers and nearly 650,000 retired federal employees. Although the face value of the policies varies with the salary of the worker, the average standard policy is worth $18,200. In addition workers may buy an optional life insurance policy worth a flat $10,000.
Insiders say the CSC recommendations are aimed at making the federal life insurance program the equal of "anything" offered to workers in large firms in private industry. Whatever they propose must be approved by the White House, and then by Congress.
Among the changes are lower rates for younger workers, and proposals to lower premiums for employees with the government gradually picking up more and more of the standard premium tab. Federal employees now pay two-thirds of the regular life insurance premium, with their agencies paying the rest. Total cost of the insurance is 53.4 cents per $1,000 of insurance paid biweekly, for nonpostal employees.
The life insurance coverage Uncle Sam provides at the office is generally considered a good deal for middle-aged and older workers. The average age of persons under the plan is 42. and age 45 is considered the point at which the government plan and its rate becomes unbeatable when compared to most private term insurance programs.
Part of the attraction is the fact that government workers do not have to take a physical to be eligible for the standard salary-plus policy. That benefits older employees, and persons in bad health or with physical handicaps who would have to pay higher premiums, or be unable to get insurance, on the outside.
The flat premium aspect of the plan irritates younger employees who say that term insurance from the "outside" is a better deal for them. Older workers, however, like the flat rate.
Life insurance coverage may be increased under the CSC task force proposal. Currently it is equal to the average annual salary, rounded to the next $1,000 with a $2,000 odd-on. That means that a worker getting $12,500 a year would be insured for $15,000. He or she could, of course, buy the additional $10,000 package at a much higher premium.
The new life insurance package is expected to recommend lower rates for younger workers, a larger government contribution, and increases in the amounts under the standards [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]