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Members

Group Life Insurance

Wisconsin Public Employers Group Life Insurance Program

Who is Eligible for Coverage and How to Enroll
Amount and Type of Coverage
Continuation or Conversion of Coverage After Terminating Employment
Life Insurance Premium Rates


This section provides a general overview of the Wisconsin Public Employers Group Life Insurance Program. Detailed information regarding this insurance may be found in the brochure The Wisconsin Public Employers Group Life Insurance Plan (ET-2101).

Wisconsin Public Employers Group Life Insurance Program

The Wisconsin Public Employers Group Life Insurance Program, which is administered by the Department of Employee Trust Funds, provides group term life insurance coverage for state employees and local employees whose employers have elected to participate. Under most circumstances, there is no cash benefit from this insurance while you are still living; it is normally payable only as a death benefit. However, if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness or have been confined for medical reasons to a custodial care facility for six months or enrolled in a certified hospice care program, you may be eligible to receive some or all of your life insurance amount as a living benefit.

More information about this living benefit may be found in the brochure Living Benefits (ET-2327).

Who is Eligible for Coverage

If you are under age 70, have been covered under the Wisconsin Retirement System for at least 6 months, and your employer participates in the life insurance plan administered by the Department of Employee Trust Funds, you may be eligible to apply for life insurance coverage. You should check with your payroll representative to determine whether your employer participates in the plan and when you would be eligible to participate. All state agencies automatically participate in the plan.

To apply for life insurance coverage, you must submit a completed life insurance application to your employer within 30 days of the date you complete six months under the Wisconsin Retirement System. If you previously completed six months under the retirement system and have not withdrawn your account balance, you must submit your application within 30 days of the time you were hired in your current position.

Employees who are eligible for immediate enrollment in the life insurance plan, such as employees or members of the legislature, must also apply within 30 days of hire.

If you are returning to work from layoff or leave without earnings and your insurance was discontinued, you may enroll by submitting a completed application within 30 days of your return to work.

Your life insurance coverage will be effective the first day of the month after your application is received by your employer.

If you fail to apply during one of these periods, you may apply by providing evidence of insurability. You and your employer will be notified in writing when your coverage becomes effective or is denied.

Amount and Type of Coverage

There are three levels of life insurance coverage available under the life insurance program. There's the Basic plan, the Supplemental plan, and the Additional plan. You must enroll in the Basic plan to be eligible for the Supplemental or Additional plans. State agencies participate in all three plans, but if you are employed by a local employer, you should contact your payroll representative to determine which plans your employer has elected to participate in.

Under the Basic plan, you have insurance equal to your earnings reported to the Wisconsin Retirement System for the previous year, rounded up to the next thousand.

The Supplemental plan is offered to state employees and to local government employees whose employer has filed a resolution to offer the coverage, the amount of coverage is 100 percent of your previous year's earnings rounded up to the next thousand.

The additional plan offers up to three units of coverage to state employees. Local government employers may file a resolution to offer 1, 2 or all 3 units of coverage to their employees.

Spouse and Dependent coverage is available to insured employees who have a spouse, domestic partner, and/or qualifying dependents. Your open enrollment opportunity for Spouse and Dependent coverage occurs when you are first eligible to enroll for coverage on yourself, if your employer has elected to participate in the Spouse and Dependent program. If you have no spouse/domestic partner, or dependent child to insure when you are first eligible for coverage, you may later obtain coverage by filing an application within 30 days of the date you marry, an Affidavit for Domestic Partnership form (ET-2371) is received by ETF, or you have a dependent child, whichever is earliest. You may apply for one or two units of coverage. Each unit provides coverage of $10,000 for your spouse and $5,000 for each dependent.

Continuation or Conversion of Coverage After Terminating Employment

To be eligible to continue your life insurance at group rates after you terminate employment, you must meet one of the following conditions:

  • You must be at least minimum retirement age and be eligible to receive an immediate annuity. Minimum retirement age is 50 for protective category employees and age 55 for all other categories,

    OR

  • The sum of your years of creditable service under the Wisconsin Retirement System before January 1, 1990, plus your years of group life insurance coverage after that date equal at least 20 years,

    OR

  • The sum of your years with the same employer before January 1, 1990, plus your years of group life insurance coverage after that date equal at least 20 years.

If you began employment after January 1, 1990, you also must be insured for at least 5 years to qualify to continue.

If you are retiring and applying for an immediate retirement annuity, your insurance will automatically be continued for you. Otherwise you should contact your payroll representative immediately for an application to continue coverage.

Your insurance will remain at the same amount as prior to your termination until you reach age 65. Premiums must be paid until that time. At 65, the supplemental and additional insurance ends and the basic insurance continues at a reduced rate of coverage without cost to you. At age 65, your coverage is reduced to 75 percent of your coverage in effect at that time. At age 66, the rate is 50 percent. For state employees and some local employees, it continues after age 66 at the 50 percent rate. For most local employees, your coverage will drop again at age 67 to 25 percent. It remains at 25 percent for the remainder of your life. See the brochure Group Life Insurance After You Terminate Employment (ET-4104) for more information.

If your insurance is terminated because you are no longer working or because you are on temporary layoff or leave of absence and it has expired, you may qualify to convert your policy to an individual policy without submitting evidence of insurability. To be eligible to convert you must have been insured for at least six months before your employment ended. There are also certain restrictions on the type of policy you may apply for.

The conversion application, available from your employer or this Department, must be submitted with payment of your first premium to the life insurance company within 31 days after your group insurance coverage ends. See the Life Insurance Conversion (ET-2306) brochure for more information, and a conversion application.

Converting Your Group Life Insurance To Pay Health or Long-Term Care Insurance Premiums

Active employees age 70 or older and retirees who are insured under both the Wisconsin Public Employers Group Life Insurance Program and one of the health insurance plans or long-term care plans offered by the Department of Employee Trust Funds can elect to convert their life insurance to pay health or long-term care insurance premiums. The health insurance plans offered by Employee Trust Funds are the plan available to state employees, the plan available to employees of local government employers who elect to participate in our health insurance plan, and the Local Annuitant Health Program. Long-term care plans are offered by ETF to state employees only. You cannot convert your life insurance to pay the premiums for any other health or long-term care insurance coverage.

To be eligible, your basic life insurance coverage must be at its final reduced amount. If you are retired from the state you must be at least age 66, and if you are retired from a local government employer you must be either age 66 or 67, depending on whether your basic life insurance coverage reduces to 50% or 25% of the original amount after retirement. If you are retired from the state your sick leave credits must be exhausted before you can convert your life insurance to pay health insurance premiums.

If you elect this conversion, your life insurance coverage will be converted to credits equal to the present value of your life insurance. The present value ranges from about 45% to 80% of the face amount, depending on your age. Your converted life insurance credits will be used to pay your health insurance premiums until the credits are exhausted. You cannot receive any direct cash payment.

You may file the election to convert your life insurance at any time, and it will become effective on the beginning of the third month after we receive it. The brochure Converting Your Group Life Insurance to Pay Health Premiums (ET-2325) provides detailed information on this subject.

 

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