SGLI for Family Members Begins Nov. 1

(Army News Service, Oct. 11, 2001) - Beginning in November, DoD will automatically provide insurance coverage for spouses and children under Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance, unless soldiers sign a form declining the additional coverage.

Soldiers will pay for their spouse's insurance coverage in their monthly payroll deduction, officials said. Those who want to cancel or reduce that insurance for their family members need to submit a SGLV Form 8286A to their command's service support center.

Spouses will be insured for a maximum of $100,000 and children for $10,000, through the SGLI for family members.

Children will be covered at no cost to the sponsor, said Robert Wagner, deputy of the Army's Casualty and Operations Center.

Spouses will be insured for a monthly premium of between $9 and $32 per month, depending on their ages and amount of coverage desired. If no action is taken, Wagner said the maximum premium will automatically be deducted from paychecks beginning in November for all soldiers, including those in the Army Reserve and National Guard.

A 30-day grace period for soldiers wanting to cancel or reduce their insurance begins with the program's implementation Nov. 1. Although Nov. 20 is the last date that paperwork can be submitted to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service to affect that month's pay, officials said soldiers who fill out the SGLV Form 8286A before the end of November will be later reimbursed.

The SGLI for family members was brought about by legislation sponsored by the Veterans Administration and approved by Congress in May. It will be the first time spouses and children have been covered under the military life insurance program.

"The spouse must be enrolled in DEERS (Defense Eligibility and Enrollment Reporting System) in order for the correct premium to be deducted from the sponsor's paycheck," Wagn

Spouses who opt to accept the automatic life insurance policies do not have to undergo physical examinations, Wagner said.

He said the spouses would, however, have to complete a document stating that they are in "good health" if they elect insurance after initially declining or decreasing the automatic

"This is one of the best deals on the market," Wag

The policies are also "convertible," which allows the insured spouse to convert their policies to a commercial insurance plan once the sponsor separates or retires, Wag

"We are still developing the details of the program, but it is important for soldiers to be thinking about whether they want or need the insurance and discussing it with their spouses," Wagn

If a soldier has SGLI coverage of $100,000 or more, maximum coverage for the spouse will be automatic, officials said. But they explained the spouse's coverage can be no higher than the soldier's coverage.

For instance, if a soldier only had $50,000 in coverage on himself, he can only get $50,000 for his spouse, a DoD official said. He added that spouse coverage must be elected in $10,000 increments.

Coverage for children up to age 18, or 23 if a full-time student, is free and automatic, so long as the soldier is participating in SGLI, officials said.

More information about the program can be found at the VA Web site, and the SGLV Form 8286A is also available.

(Editor's note: Tecia Williams and Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen Rhem contributed to this article.)

Source: Army News Service