Frequently asked questions

I already have Basic Life insurance. Why get more?

While having some life insurance provided by your employer is a great benefit, chances are it may not be enough to adequately provide for your family. Additional life insurance can give your family greater financial security.

How much life insurance do I need?

You probably need more than you have now. You should keep in mind that insurance needs change as your life changes. For example, getting married, starting a family or purchasing a home can impact your needs. Many people are surprised to learn that they don’t have enough life insurance to cover the expenses their loved ones may face. We’ve made it very simple to determine the amount of coverage you need now. Use MetLife’s Life Insurance Calculator to find your answer in minutes.

Who is eligible for coverage?

Generally, to enroll in the life insurance program, you must be a full-time employee who receives compensation from a department, agency, board, commission or institution of the state; public school district; county government, including county council members; local subdivision; or another eligible employer that is approved by state law and is participating in the state insurance program. Members of the South Carolina General Assembly, clerical and administrative employees of the General Assembly, and judges in the state courts are also eligible for life insurance coverage. An employee’s spouse and children (those from birth to 19 or 25 if a full-time student) are also eligible for coverage.

How much does Optional Life and Dependent Life insurance coverage cost?

It may be less expensive than you think. You’ll have access to competitive group rates, with a wide range of coverage options from which to choose. Exact rates can be found in the Benefits and premiums tab.

How do I pay for my coverage?

Premiums for active employees are paid through payroll deduction, so you don’t have to worry about writing a check or missing a payment. Retirees who elect to continue coverage pay premiums directly to MetLife.

When will my coverage become effective?

You must be actively at work on the date your coverage becomes effective. If you elect coverage within 30 days of initial eligibility, your coverage starts on the first day of the next month. Coverage will become effective the following January 1 for benefits elected during open enrollment if your request does not require additional medical information. Requests for amounts that require additional medical information and are not approved by January 1 will not be effective until the first of the month following approval from MetLife or the date that the policy’s active at work requirements are met. 

Your spouse and eligible child(ren) must not be confined to a hospital on the enrollment date, or at home for any medical reason or be receiving or entitled to receive disability income for any medical reason on the date the Dependent Life coverage is scheduled to become effective.

More information is available in the Insurance Benefits Guide.

How are claims paid?

Proceeds are paid to your beneficiary through a tax-free death benefit. 

What other benefits are included?

You have access to services through MetLife AdvantagesSM that help you navigate what life may bring — at no additional cost to you. More information can be found in the MetLife AdvantagesSM tab.

Who can I contact if I need help enrolling online?

You can enroll online through MyBenefits at MyBenefits.sc.gov. For enrollment questions, contact your benefits administrator or call PEBA at 888.260.9430, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET.

What are my options for continuing coverage after my employment ends?

If you are eligible for retiree group insurance when you retire, you may choose to continue or convert your life insurance through MetLife. Retiree life insurance coverage does not include Accidental Death and Dismemberment benefits. Optional Life coverage is eligible for conversion or continuation; Basic Life and Dependent Life coverage are eligible for conversion.

If your Basic, Optional or Dependent Life insurance ends because your employment or eligibility for coverage ends, you may apply to convert your coverage to an individual whole life insurance policy, a permanent form of life insurance, without providing evidence of insurability. MetLife has contracted with Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) to help with converting coverage.

PEBA sends a bi-weekly file with employee status changes to MetLife. MetLife will use this information to mail a conversion/continuation packet. Packets are sent via U.S. mail three to five business days after MetLife receives the file.

The application period for continuation and conversion is time-sensitive. If the appropriate form(s) are not received within 30 days of the date your coverage as an active employee ends for continuing coverage or 31 days for converting coverage, you will forfeit your right for retiree group life insurance.

What is the difference between continuing and converting my group life insurance?

Continuation

You may continue your Optional Life coverage upon retirement. The rates match what you paid while you were an employee.

The minimum amount that can be continued is $10,000. You cannot increase your coverage, but you can decrease it. Rates are based on your age and will increase when your age category changes. Your coverage will reduce at ages 70, 75 and 80. When your coverage reduces or ends, you can convert the amount of reduced or lost coverage within 31 days as described in the Conversion section below.

MetLife will mail you a conversion/continuation packet. Packets are sent via U.S. mail three to five business days after MetLife receives the eligibility file from PEBA. To continue your coverage, follow the instructions included in your packet from MetLife. Coverage must be continued within 30 days of the date of coverage is lost due to approved retirement or approved disability retirement.

If you have questions about your options for continuing your insurance coverage once you receive your conversion/continuation packet, contact MetLife at 888.507.3767. If you continue your coverage, you will receive a bill and pay your premiums directly to MetLife.

Conversion

If your Basic, Optional or Dependent Life insurance ends because your employment or eligibility for coverage ends, you may apply to convert your coverage to an individual whole life insurance policy, a permanent form of life insurance, without providing evidence of insurability.

MetLife will mail you a conversion/continuation packet. Packets are sent via U.S. mail three to five business days after MetLife receives the eligibility file from PEBA.

MetLife has contracted with Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) to help with converting coverage. To apply, contact MassMutual at 877.275.6387 and refer to the Conversion Notice included in the packet. The policy will be issued without medical evidence if you apply for and pay the premium within 31 days. If you miss the deadline, you will forfeit your right to convert your life insurance. You have 31 days from the date your coverage ends to convert your policy.

When applying to convert coverage, remember these rules:

  • You may not apply for more than the amount of life insurance you had under your terminated group life insurance.
  • Your new premium for the conversion policy will be set at MetLife’s standard rate for the amount of coverage that you wish to convert and your age.