Female feds often underinsured

Carol Yepe/Getty Images

WAEPA—the Worldwide Assurance for Employees of Public Agencies, a nonprofit provider of insurance and other financial services to feds—offers data showing women in the federal government are underinsured.

Women in federal government jobs have less insurance coverage compared to their male colleagues.

That’s the warning coming this month in a report by WAEPA—the Worldwide Assurance for Employees of Public Agencies, the nonprofit that has long provided life insurance and other financial services to feds.

The gap is particularly wide, for example, in the area of life insurance. Only 67% of women feds report having life insurance, compared with 79% of men, WAEPA said.

“The more a family relies on an someone’s income or other contributions, the more important it is to help protect that family’s future with a life insurance policy,” WAEPA said. “Even if women are not the primary breadwinner in their household, life insurance can still help protect their family in case of death or disability, given that even the loss of supplementary income can cause significant financial strain in many households.”

WAEPA noted that the gap may obtain regardless of whether a male or female is the primary breadwinner in the household.

“The data shows that while many women value contributions to their family equally, they may not assign the same financial value to their role,” the group notes.

The WAEPA report also said the gap may represent a growing problem—because the “number of women in the federal workforce is continually rising.”

The organization notes other possible reasons behind the gap, beyond the psychological one of women devaluing their contribution (and therefore perceiving less need to guard against its loss, compared with men). There is also the simple fact that women in the federal government—as in most other segments of the workforce—on balance, still earn less for similar work compared with men.

WAEPA cited a 2020 Government Accountability Office study that found female feds earn about 93 cents for every one dollar earned by their male colleagues. On a hopeful note, GAO did note that the pay gap was narrowing.

“Everyone who has someone that depends on them, needs their own life insurance policy,” WAEPA stated. The organization offers free calculators on its website to help feds determine both the type and amount of coverage they may need.

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