The General Accounting Office says the nation's largest "company" life insurance plan, the one that covers nine out of 10 federal workers and their dependents, costs more than employe life insurance found in the private sector and is generally inferior.

In a report released yesterday, the congressional agency suggested that the government improve coverage and lower costs for employes.

When the federal life insurance program began more than 30 years ago it was superior to most other employe programs. Even though the cost of federal life insurance premiums has dropped 44 percent over the past decade, GAO said, premiums still could be cut an additional 7 1/2 percent.

Nationally, 3.2 million workers and their families are covered by the insurance in question, Federal Employees Group Life Insurance. Half a million Washington area residents are in the plan.

Reps. Michael D. Barnes (D-Md.) and Vic Fazio (D-Calif.), who requested the GAO study, are considering legislation that would beef up coverage and lower premiums. Barnes and Fazio are chairmen of the bipartisan Federal Government Service Task Force.

Although the U.S. Postal Service pays for basic insurance coverage for its 750,000 workers, employes at most other agencies must pay two-thirds of the premium for a basic life policy. Employes also may purchase various options -- with coverage of up to five times their annual salaries -- and buy life insurance policies for family members.

The basic insurance coverage costs nonpostal employes 20 cents per $1,000 of coverage, with the government paying 10 cents for every $1,000.

Typically in industry, GAO said, employes get policies at lower cost (or no cost) worth from 1 1/2 to two times their annual salaries, with the policy face value declining from 10 to 50 percent after retirement.

In government, the basic life insurance policy is equal to the annual salary plus $2,000 for workers 35 and under and to annual salary after that age. After retirement, or at age 65, the policy value declines each year until it reaches 25 percent of salary.


Richard P. Kusserow, inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, has been named vice chairman of the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency. The council coordinates the war on waste, fraud and abuse against, and within, government.

Carol A. Bonosaro has become temporary director of the Senior Executives Association, succeeding Blair Childs, who resigned. Bonosaro is assistant staff director of congressional and public affairs at the Civil Rights Commission.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics Women's Program will have a special status-of-women meeting at 10 a.m. tomorrow in Room C-5515 of the Frances Perkins Building. For details call Mary Ellen Ayers, 523-1554.

The American Society for Public Administration's spring symposium is tomorrow at the Capitol Hill Quality Inn. Astronaut Frank Culbertson is the keynote speaker. For information or reservations call Nanette Levinson, 885-1470.


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission wants a GM (merit pay) 13 supervisory personnel staffing-classification specialist. Must have civil service status. Call 357-5674.

Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board needs an executive director GM 15/16. Call 245-1591.

Air Force is looking for GS 11/12 computer programmers/programmer analysts. Call 697-9117.