Updated on March 27, 2014

Options are listed in order of recommended selection. For all options, complete the Insurance Enrollment and Change form and return to your GIC Coordinator.

Q) I have been laid off and I have fewer than ten years of full-time service (as determined by The State Board of Retirement or my retirement board). Therefore, I am not eligible for a state pension.  What are my insurance options?
A) You may continue your 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, life and GIC Dental/Vision (if eligible) insurance. Note: at the end of the 39-weeks, you may elect COBRA health and GIC Dental/Vision 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, life and Dental/Vision plans with the same group benefits for 39 weeks (and the entire 18-month COBRA period).
    • Drawback: You pay 100% of the premium (no Commonwealth contribution).
  • COBRA - for health insurance and GIC Dental/Vision Insurance (if eligible) 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 and GIC Dental/Vision plan with the same group benefits.
    • Drawbacks: You pay 100% of the premium plus 2% for administration (no Commonwealth 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.
  • Continue basic life and/or optional life coverage under portability option (the life insurance carrier will mail the application to your home):
    • Benefit: Continue your life insurance at a competitive rate.
    Convert to Non-Group life insurance coverage with current carrier (complete and return the application you receive from the GIC's life insurance carrier):
    • Benefit: Ability to continue life insurance coverage.
    • Drawback: Maybe less than GIC plan coverage.

Q) I have been laid off and I have ten or more years of full-time service. I am eligible for a state pension (as determined by the State Board of Retirement or my retirement board). I am leaving my retirement money in the State's retirement system. May I continue my health and life coverage?
 

A) Yes. The GIC recommends that you elect Deferred Retirement Coverage. If you are getting health coverage elsewhere, the GIC suggests that, at a minimum, you keep life insurance, paying 100% of the premium. At retirement, resume GIC health coverage; the Commonwealth will contribute the prevailing contribution percentage for retirees. If you are not getting health coverage elsewhere, keep basic life and health insurance, paying 100% of the premiums until retirement. If you get health coverage elsewhere before retirement, you may apply for GIC basic life and health insurance during the GIC's annual enrollment period or at retirement.

If you decide not to leave your money in the state or other GIC-eligible 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 and life 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 life, health and GIC Dental/Vision layoff coverage
  • GIC COBRA health and Dental/Vision coverage only
  • Convert to non-group health coverage with your current health plan
  • Elect portability of your life insurance, or;
  • Convert to non-group life insurance with the current life insurer

Q) I am being laid off after twenty or more years of state service or I am age 55 or over and have ten or more years of state service. How can I continue my health and life coverage with the GIC?
A) If you have twenty or more years of state service (at any age) or ten or more years of state service at age 55 or over, and retire, you are eligible for retiree health and life 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 and life coverage?
A) Yes. In general, you may continue your health and life coverage with the same options as employees who have been laid off, depending on your length of state service. See less than 10 years of state service or 10 or more years of state 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.