A safety net for your family during your working years

March 06, 2024
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4-minute read

Know your benefits

Learn about your options in preparation for Summer Enrollment.

For the next few months, News About Your Benefits will feature overviews of the plans you can elect, change or drop during Summer Enrollment. For March, we highlight Optional and Dependent Term Life Insurance and Voluntary Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance.


Optional Term Life Insurance through the Texas Employees Group Benefit Program (GBP) can help you prepare for the unexpected, by temporarily providing an extra level of financial protection while you’re enrolled during your working years.

Most people don’t expect to die during their working years. If you do, your loved ones may benefit from life insurance to cover medical bills, funeral costs and other expenses related to end of life–as well as to pay for ongoing family expenses when they can no longer rely on your paycheck.

Outside of GBP life insurance benefits, maybe you have personal savings that would help your family in the event of your death.

Or you might have insurance through a personal insurance agent, that’s effective for your whole life. This more expensive type of “whole life” insurance can provide a foundation of protection.

The Optional Term Life Insurance available through the GBP is temporary (only as long as you’re eligible as an employee or retiree of a state agency or higher education institution, and paying the monthly premium) and less expensive than whole life insurance. It provides a way to bulk up your coverage when you’re bringing home a paycheck. Your working years tend to be when your family’s expenses are highest and, therefore, when they need the most financial protection against unexpected loss of life and income.

The temporary nature of the benefit is part of what makes it so cost-effective and flexible. It’s similar in function to your homeowner’s and car insurance in that you pay only what it costs to insure yourself at the time you’re paying premiums and for the amount of coverage you have.

You may decide to increase coverage when you’re growing a family—and decrease it later, when you have fewer financial obligations. For example, are your children out of college and/or living on their own, no longer relying on you for financial support? Is your spouse in a job that provides adequate, reliable income? Have you paid off your mortgage and other large debts? Do you have significant savings built up? These might be situations in which you’d want to decrease your Optional Term Life Insurance coverage or drop it entirely.

Learn more about the value of life insurance at different stages of life. Need more guidance? Take a few minutes to answer some questions in Securian Financial’s Benefit Scout, and get a recommendation on coverage that might be a good for you.

Every employee enrolled in a Texas Employees Group Benefit Program (GBP) health plan is automatically enrolled in Basic Term Life Insurance. Optional Term Life Insurance provides additional coverage.

Coverage levels

Coverage is available at one, two, three or four times your annual salary.

The Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) also offers Dependent Term Life Insurance that pays you $5,000 in the event of the death of a covered spouse or child.


The cost of Optional Term Life Insurance depends on your age and how much coverage you have. See page 4 of the Plan Year 2024 rate sheet PDF for current premiums, and keep the following in mind:

  • Costs could change for Plan Year 2025 (starting Sept. 1, 2024). Plan Year 2025 rates will be available in late May, after the ERS Board of Trustees votes on them.
  • Typically, with term life insurance you will have a premium increase every five years—when your age ends in zero or five.

The Plan Year 2024 monthly premium for Dependent Term Life Insurance is $1.45. This premium covers any number of eligible dependents, but you must name each eligible dependent on the policy.

How to apply

You may apply for Optional Term Life Insurance and/or Dependent Term Life Insurance:

  • during Summer Enrollment,
  • within 31 days of a qualifying life event such as marriage or a new child or
  • within 31 days of starting work at an agency or higher education institution that participates in the GBP.

If you apply for Optional Term Life at any coverage level or Dependent Term Life after your first 31 days of employment, you must go through evidence of insurability (EOI), and coverage is not guaranteed. (Within 31 days of starting employment, an employee may enroll in Optional Term Life Insurance at one or two times their annual salary and/or Dependent Term Life Insurance without EOI. After the first 31 days, EOI is always required to apply for either of these coverages.)

Once your coverage is effective, you never have to re-enroll to continue it. You can decrease or drop your coverage, or apply with EOI to increase it, during your annual Summer Enrollment phase or within 31 days of a qualifying life event. If your application for increased coverage is not approved, your current coverage level will remain unchanged.

Learn more

Visit LifeBenefits.com/plandesign/ers to see coverage options and costs.


The Securian Financial website includes a variety of additional resources, along with full details about the insurance program via the Active Employees Benefits Book.

You may also contact Securian Financial’s Austin service office at austinbranchoffice@securian.com or (877) 494-1716.

This article reflects the group term life insurance policy issued by Minnesota Life Insurance Company to ERS. Securian Financial is the marketing name for Securian Financial Group, Inc., and its subsidiaries. Minnesota Life Insurance Company is a subsidiary of Securian Financial Group, Inc.