Updated on March 27, 2014

Options are listed in order of recommended selection. Complete the  Insurance Enrollment and Change form for all options.

Q) I have been laid off and I have fewer than ten years of full-time service (as determined by my municipality's retirement board). Therefore, I am not eligible for a municipal pension. May I continue my GIC health insurance coverage?  What are my insurance options?
A) You may continue your GIC health coverage with some limitations on time and/or benefit levels in one of the following ways:

  • Commonwealth Health Connector health coverage (contact the Health Connector Authority for information and enrollment: 1-877-623-6765):
    • Benefits: A choice of health insurance options with different benefits and prices. Depending on which plan you choose, your monthly premium for the Health Connector could be lower than the monthly premium for COBRA or conversion coverage. Unlike COBRA coverage, Health Connector coverage does not have a maximum coverage period. You can continue coverage as long as you pay your premiums on time.
    • Drawbacks: Benefits may not be as comprehensive as the coverage you had through the GIC. If you enroll in Health Connector coverage, you are waiving your right to elect health insurance under the GIC's COBRA or conversion options. This option is only available for Massachusetts residents.
  • 39 Week Layoff Coverage - for health and life insurance. Note: at the end of the 39-weeks, you may elect COBRA health coverage for 9 additional months of health coverage, for the 18 months total health coverage permitted by COBRA.
    • Benefit: Allows you to keep your health and life plans with the same group benefits for 39 weeks (and the entire 18-month COBRA period).
    • Drawback: You pay 100% of the premium (no municipal contribution).
  • COBRA - for health insurance only (you have 60 days to elect COBRA coverage, but coverage begins the first day of the month after your coverage as an active employee ends. To avoid owing retroactive premiums, send in your application promptly.)
    • Benefit: Allows you to stay in the same health plan with the same group benefits.
    • Drawbacks: You pay 100% of the premium plus 2% for administration (no municipal contribution). Maximum coverage period is 18 months.
  • Convert to Non-Group health insurance coverage with your current health plan (contact your Plan for the application):
    • Benefit: You may keep coverage indefinitely as long as you pay the premium.
    • Drawback: Benefits are almost always less comprehensive than GIC coverage and costs are higher.

Q) I have been laid off and I have ten or more years of full-time service. I am eligible for a municipal pension (as determined by my retirement board). I am leaving my retirement money in the municipal's retirement system. May I continue my health coverage?
A) Yes. If you are not getting health coverage elsewhere, you may keep GIC health insurance, paying 100% of the premiums until retirement. If you are getting health insurance elsewhere, you may apply for GIC health coverage at retirement; the municipality will contribute the prevailing contribution percentage for retirees. 

If you decide not to leave your money in the municipality's retirement system, or if it is transferred to a retirement system not eligible for GIC benefits, your benefits as a Deferred Retiree end. You may elect to continue your health coverage, with some limitations on time and/or benefit levels, in one of the following ways:

  • Commonwealth Health Connector health insurance (Massachusetts residents)
  • 39-week health layoff coverage
  • GIC COBRA health coverage only
  • Convert to non-group health coverage with your current health plan

Q) I am being laid off after twenty or more years of municipal service or I am age 55 or over and have ten or more years of municipal service. How can I continue my health coverage with the GIC?
A) If you have twenty or more years of municipal service (at any age) or ten or more years of municipal service at age 55 or over, and retire, you are eligible for retiree health insurance coverage. See the Retirement section for additional information.

Should you elect not to retire, the GIC recommends that you elect Deferred Retirement coverage.


Q) If I quit or am fired from my job, and am not retiring, may I continue my health coverage?
A) Yes. In general, you may continue your health coverage with the same options as employees who have been laid off, depending on your length of municipal service. See less than 10 years of municipal service or 10 or more years of municipal service for your options. You are eligible for continuation health coverage, but if your agency determines that you have been fired for gross misconduct, you are not eligible for COBRA coverage.


This information provided by the Group Insurance Commission.