Can you refuse a life insurance benefit from an employer without being fired or punished?
UPDATED: Jul 16, 2012
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Asked July 16, 2012
Employer offered benefits are sometimes automatic, which means that they are effective even if you do nothing at all, but they are not mandatory. That is, your employer could offer to pay the premiums on a group life insurance policy for you as a job benefit, but the same employer cannot take any adverse actions against you if you choose not to enroll in an insurance program which requires you to make regular payments.
In some cases, it may be possible for your employer to include the necessity of certain type of life insurance. In this situation, the employer would be fully responsible for making the premium payments, and would generally be at least one of the beneficiaries of the policy in the event of your demise. In this situation, the life insurance policy could be a requirement for the position, typically if your death would cause the employer to suffer a loss of production or force them to close completely. If this type of requirement is used, you will be notified at the time of your employment beginning, requiring your acknowledgement and signature to finalize the contract.
Where the life insurance policy pays out to a beneficiary of your choosing, and the premiums are paid, whether all or in part, by you directly, the employer cannot force you to accept coverage. Group life insurance tends to be less expensive than purchasing an individual policy, but such policies are often limited in the amount of coverage you are able to purchase. You cannot be required to purchase a life insurance policy that belongs solely to you as a condition of your employment, regardless of how much of the premiums are paid by your employer.
Answered July 16, 2012 by Anonymous