Links & Contact Info | Basic Life Insurance FAQs | Optional Life Insurance FAQs

Employees are offered two types of life insurance coverage—basic (paid in full by the County) and optional (paid by the employee). Below is more information on these options.

Basic Coverage

All full-time eligible employees participate in a group term life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance program through the Virginia Retirement System (VRS). Life insurance coverage is two times, or in the case of accidental death, four times the next highest thousand dollars above annual salary. Example: If annual salary is $13,455, coverage is for $28,000 life insurance in the case of regular death or $56,000 for accidental death. The County assumed the cost of this coverage effective July 1, 1977. Federal law requires that the employer report the value of this coverage (exceeding $50,000) as income received by the employee for tax purposes.

Optional Life Insurance

Employees covered for basic group life insurance may purchase optional group life insurance coverage in an amount equal to one, two, three, or four times their salary. Optional group life insurance also is available to the member’s spouse and dependent children. This life insurance is offered through the Virginia Retirement System and is underwritten by Minnesota Life.

If you have a question about life insurance, you may call Betsy Balser at 501-4355 in the County’s Department of Human Resources.

Important Links

Contact Information

Minnesota Life
P.O. Box 1193
Richmond, Virginia 23218-1193
Phone (toll free) 800-441-2258

Department of Human Resources – Benefits Division
804-501-7371
FAX: 804-501-4426
Send an e-mail

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Basic Life Insurance FAQs

Who is covered?
All active full time employees and retirees who participate in the Virginia Retirement System are covered for basic group life insurance.

What is the level of benefit?
All active full time employees are covered for 2 times their annual salary rounded to the next thousand. Example: Salary is $34,500. Round up to $35,000 x 2 = $70,000 in group life coverage.

Can I keep coverage after terminating employment?
You may convert life coverage to a non-group policy by applying and paying the first premium within 31 days after your group insurance terminates.

Is coverage available after retirement?
Yes. The coverage is continuous but does reduce until it equals 25% of the insurance amount at retirement. The coverage reduces 25% per year. It takes place on January 1 after the first full year of retirement.

Who pays for this coverage?
Your employer pays the premium each month for your basic group life coverage. However, the employee pays a small FICA tax on the level of coverage above $50,000. When you retire, the cost is still free, and the FICA tax continues until your level of coverage is under $50,000.

Is accidental death/dismemberment coverage available?
Yes, coverage is available while you are actively employed, but cease during retirement.

Who should the beneficiary contact in case of death?
The beneficiary should contact the Benefits Section of the Department of Human Resources. If the deceased is a retiree, the beneficiary may contact the insurance company.

Can dependents be covered under this plan?
This coverage is only available to employees and retirees. You may elect to cover dependents under the Optional Group Life coverage.

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Optional Life Insurance FAQs

What exactly is the Optional Life Insurance Plan?
The VRS optional plan provides you a way to supplement the basic group life and accidental death and dismemberment coverage provided through Virginia Retirement System. It also provides a way for you to elect optional insurance on your spouse and your children.

How do I pay for this plan?
Premiums will be deducted from your paycheck on an after tax basis.

When can I enroll in this plan?
Newly hired employees may enroll within 31 days of employment and will not have to provide evidence of good health for coverage $350,000 or less. Children of newly hired employees are also guaranteed coverage without providing evidence of good health. The spouse is guaranteed coverage for option 1 only and will need to provide evidence of good health for options 2, 3, or 4 by submitting the Evidence of Insurability form. Current employees may submit an application for enrollment anytime beyond either their employment date or eligibility date, An Evidence of Insurability form will be required for the employee and all eligible dependents in order for any amount of insurance to be provided. There are no guaranteed issue amounts for employees applying more than 31 days after they are eligible for the plan. All enrollment applications can be sent to the Department of Human Resources’ Benefits Division. The Group Life Evidence of Insurability forms can be sent directly to Minnesota Life. Forms can be mailed to: Minnesota Life Insurance Company, Richmond Branch Office, P.O. Box 1193, Richmond, VA 23218-1193.

Will the amount I pay change?
The amount you pay will change at periodic intervals based on your and/or your spouse’s age and your annual salary.

How do I designate my beneficiary?
The beneficiary for your optional insurance is the same as that for the basic VRS group coverage. You are the beneficiary for the optional insurance on your spouse and your children.

What if my spouse is insured as an employee under the VRS plan?
Both of you are eligible to purchase optional coverage on yourselves, but you may not cover each other for optional spouse coverage. Only one of you may insure your dependent children.

May I add a spouse if I marry in the future?
Yes, within 31 days of the date of marriage. After that time you will be required to provide evidence of your spouse’s good health.

Who are eligible dependents under the optional plan?
The following persons are eligible to be insured under the VRS optional plan:

  • the employee’s spouse
  • the employee’s unmarried, natural, or legally adopted children* who are not self-supporting
  • the employee’s unmarried stepchildren* who live full-time with the employee in a parent-child relationship and can be claimed as dependents on the employee’s federal income tax return
  • any other children if they are in the permanent court-ordered custody of the employee and less than 21 years of age (age 25 if a full-time college student)

May I add children’s coverage when my first child is born?
You may add newborn children within 31 days of the birth. Coverage is not available for children less than 15 days. If you have children now, but do not choose to elect children’s coverage when you are first eligible, you will be allowed to add children’s coverage in the future subject to completion of the required Request for Change form and a Group Life Evidence of Insurability form on each child to be covered. Coverage eligibility will be determined upon satisfactory evidence that each child is in good health.

What is Evidence of Good Health and how do I provide it?
Evidence of Good Health is information needed to assess the risk and determine eligibility for coverage. You will be asked to answer questions concerning the health status of yourself and any dependent you wish to enroll.

What if my spouse is uninsurable?
If you apply for spouse coverage as a newly-hired employee for Options 2, 3, or 4, and your spouse does not provide satisfactory evidence of good health, your spouse will still be eligible for the guaranteed issue amount under Option 1, which is equal to 50% of your annual salary. If you apply for spouse coverage outside the 31 days of employment, there are no guarantee issue amounts for your spouse.

Can I raise or lower my amount of coverage?
Yes. Any increase will require evidence of good health and will be subject to approval by Minnesota Life Insurance Company. You may also elect to lower the amount of insurance without evidence of insurability.

When does my optional coverage terminate?
Optional coverage will end when you retire, terminate your employment or when your basic VRS coverage is terminated. However, retirees can continue their optional life coverage at group rates as long as they have had coverage for 60 months prior to retirement.

If I terminate my employment, will I be able to continue my optional coverage?
Yes, there is a conversion privilege. You must make the application to Minnesota Life to convert your optional group insurance to an individual policy at non-group rates within 31 days of the termination of optional coverage.

When do I terminate my children’s coverage once they come of age?
All children are covered under one premium. When your youngest child marries or attains age 21 (age 25 if a full-time student), notify the Department of Human Resources to discontinue deducting that portion of your premium from your paycheck. Insurance of a covered minor who becomes physically or mentally disabled after the effective date of coverage for that child may be continued during disability provided the required premiums.

Can I cancel my coverage at any time?
Yes, however if you decide to elect optional coverage at any future date, evidence of good health will be required.

What is imputed income and will it apply to my coverage?
Imputed income is a term describing taxable income on the value of premiums on employer-provided life insurance coverage in excess of $50,000. The cost of life insurance over $50,000 for the employee and the spouse will require calculation of imputed income and, as such, is subject to federal and state income tax. Employees should be aware of this possibility even though the resulting tax liability is small. The local Internal Revenue Service office or a personal tax advisor can provide additional details.

Who underwrites this plan?
The Minnesota Life Insurance Company underwrites both the optional life and basic group life insurance plans.

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