Updated on April 17, 2014
Q) Who is eligible for GIC benefits?
A) Generally, employees and retirees of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and of certain other public entities, including most state authorities as well as local housing and redevelopment authorities, are eligible for GIC benefits if they participate in a public pension system and (for employees) work the requisite hours per week. Additionally, certain municipalities have opted to insure their retired teachers through the GIC’s Retired Municipal Teacher program, or to administer health benefits for their eligible population of employees and retirees through the GIC as “participating municipalities.” Certain participating municipalities also offer the GIC Retiree Dental Plan. For details, see the GIC’s regulatory definitions of Employee, Retiree, Dependent, and Regular Work Week. For further information, including a full list of entities with GIC insurance, see the List of GIC Benefit Coordinators.
Q) As a new employee, when do my GIC benefits begin?
A) GIC health insurance benefits begin on the first day of the month following 60 days or two full calendar months of employment, whichever comes first.
For state employees, your basic life and health insurance benefits are on a pre-tax basis unless you opt out. GIC benefits for state employees can include: basic life, basic life and health insurance, long term disability, optional life insurance, dental/vision for employees not covered by collective bargaining, (primarily managers, Legislators, Legislative and certain Executive Office staff), and several GIC pre-tax programs: the Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) Program and the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP). DCAP enrollment is effective as of your date of hire. Participating Municipal employees are eligible for health benefits only.
Q) I am leaving my current private sector job and will be eligible for GIC health insurance as a new hire in 60 days. What should I do about health insurance coverage during the 60-day waiting period?
A) The GIC recommends that you elect COBRA coverage through your former employer so that you have health insurance during the 60-day new hire waiting period. If you do not have COBRA coverage, you may be eligible to purchase health insurance through the Health Connector.
Q) During my GIC 60-day new hire waiting period, I (or my dependent) have had catastrophic medical expenses and do not have other health insurance or access to COBRA coverage through my former employer. Do I have any options to help cover these expenses?
A) If you or your dependent has an unplanned and urgent medical expense that exceeds the state’s or municipal’s full cost premium and this medical expense occurs on or after the first day of employment or waiting period but before the effective date of coverage, you can purchase coverage during your waiting period at the full cost premium. This option is sometimes called a B Waiver. Your coverage will be dependent on timely receipt of the full cost premium payment and approval from the health plan. Contact the GIC’s Public Information Unit at 617-727- 2310 Ext. 1 for more information.
Q) Which state and participating municipal employees are eligible for GIC health insurance coverage?
A) To be eligible for GIC health insurance, a state employee or participating municipal employee must work a minimum of 18 ¾ hours in a 37.5 hour workweek or 20 hours in a 40 hour workweek. The employee must contribute to a participating GIC retirement system, such as the State Board of Retirement, a municipal retirement board, the Teachers Retirement Board, the Optional Retirement Pension System for Higher Education, a Housing, Redevelopment Retirement Plan, or another Massachusetts public sector retirement system (OBRA is not such a public retirement system for this purpose). Temporary employees, substitute teachers, contractors, less than part time workers (see first sentence), and most seasonal employees are not eligible for GIC health insurance benefits. These employees may purchase health insurance through the Health Connector.
Q) I am an active state or participating municipal employee who works fewer than 18 ¾ hours per week in a 37.5 hour work week or 20 hours per week in a 40-hour work week; am I eligible for GIC benefits?
A) No. Non-GIC eligible employees are eligible to purchase health insurance through the Health Connector. See your GIC Coordinator for details.
Q) What happens to my GIC benefits if I work less than 18 ¾ hours in a 37.5 hour work week or 20 hours in a 40-hour work week?
A) Your GIC coverage will end at the end of the month after your hours are reduced provided your premium for that month is paid. You may elect to continue coverage through the Health Connector, GIC COBRA or non-group conversion..
Q) I am an active GIC-eligible employee and also retired from a state agency/authority or participating municipality and eligible for GIC retirement benefits. Can I choose both employee and retiree benefits?
A) You must choose active employee or retiree benefits; you may not have benefits under both statuses. Contact the GIC 617-727-2310, Ext 2 to indicate whether you want employee or retiree benefits.
Q) I was just hired to work for the state and used to work for the state before. What premium contribution will I pay for basic life and health insurance?
A) If you were hired by the state before July 1, 2003, and have been rehired within two years of your termination date, you pay 20%. If you return to work with the state more than two years from the termination date, you pay 25%. For other scenarios, please visit the answers to common questions - employment status change section of our website. PREMIUM COST FOR NEW EMPLOYEES HIRED AFTER JUNE 30, 2003
Q) If my salary changes, does it affect my costs or any GIC benefits?
A) Yes, premiums and benefits for optional life insurance and/or Long Term Disability coverage are based on salary and age. See the rate section for details.
Q) I work for an authority or state agency that is offering non-union Health Insurance, Long Term Disability or Life Insurance benefits through a non GIC vendor. Is this allowed?
A) No. All state agencies who provide GIC benefits to their employees cannot offer any benefits through non-GIC carriers if the GIC provides these benefits. Refer your agency’s legal counsel to Section 5.02 of the GIC regulations for additional details.
This information provided by the Group Insurance Commission.