Updated on January 17, 2012
The GIC has tried to answer questions that apply to most enrollees. Note: That all references in this section to municipal benefits refer to List of Participating Municipalities . Please refer to Medicare Q and A for additional information on Medicare and your GIC benefits.
Q) What coverage do I lose when I retire from state service?
A) Long Term Disability, the Health Care Spending Account (HCSA), and the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) are for active state employees only; so your coverage in those plans ends when you retire from state service. You may elect to continue to contribute to HCSA through COBRA through the end of the plan year .
Q) As an active state employee, I had GIC Dental/Vision coverage. What happens to this coverage when I retire?
A) The GIC Dental/Vision plan is for eligible active state employees only and your enrollment in the plan ends at retirement. You may continue your former dental/vision coverage for up to 18 months through COBRA. You will be billed directly for 102% of the premium under this option. You may also elect to enroll immediately, or when COBRA Dental/Vision coverage ends, in the Retiree Dental Plan. In general, COBRA dental benefits are more comprehensive than those in the Retiree Dental Plan.
Q) I am retiring from state employment and have ten or more years of full-time service (as determined by the State Retirement Board my retirement board). What are my choices?
A) As a retiree you may continue health and life coverage with the GIC. You may want to consider reducing or dropping your optional life insurance. You may do this at any time by writing to the GIC. However, you may not increase the amount of your optional life insurance. You may enroll in the GIC Retiree Dental Plan. You may change health plans at retirement; if you are Medicare eligible, you must enroll in a GIC Medicare plan.
Q) I am retiring from municipal employment and have ten or more years of full-time service (as determined by the municipality's retirement board). What are my choices?
A) As a retiree you may continue health coverage with the GIC. You may change health plans at retirement; if you are Medicare eligible, you must enroll in a GIC Medicare plan.
Q) How do I find out whether I am eligible for a state pension?
A) The State Retirement Board (or your retirement board) determines whether you meet eligibility requirements for a state pension. Call or visit your retirement board before you retire to confirm your pension benefits and arrange to receive your monthly pension check. The Board can also tell you about cost-of-living increases, taxes, and when to expect your first check.
Q) Will I be eligible to continue my GIC health and life benefits when I retire from state service?
A) Yes, providing you receive a pension from a state retirement system.
Q) Will I be eligible to continue my GIC health benefits when I retire from municipal service?
A) Yes, providing you receive a pension from a municipal retirement system or another retirement system eligible for GIC benefits.
Q) What are my basic life and health insurance premiums as a state retiree?
A) See the rate pages for details.
Q) I do not have GIC life or health benefits as a state employee. May I elect the benefits upon my retirement?
A) Yes. You may be eligible for GIC health and basic life insurance as a state retiree. Contact the GIC, or access the annual enrollment forms section of this site for the appropriate enrollment forms and eligibility criteria.
Q) I do not have GIC health benefits as a participating municipality employee. May I elect the benefits upon my retirement?
A) Yes. You may be eligible for GIC health insurance as a participating municipality retiree. Contact the GIC, or access the annual enrollment forms section of this site for the appropriate enrollment forms and eligibility criteria.
Q) What should I do while I am still working to make sure my health insurance continues when I retire?
A) Before you retire, see your GIC Coordinator at your worksite to complete the necessary paperwork to continue coverage.
If you are and/or your spouse are eligible for Medicare, state law requires that you enroll in Medicare and select one of the GIC's Medicare Plans in your geographic area to supplement your Medicare benefits.
Refer to the annual Benefit Decision Guide for general information, or contact the plans for more detailed information. When selecting a plan, you should consider benefits, convenience, and how your health may change after you retire.
Q) May I change health plans when I retire?
A) Yes. You may change health plans at retirement and thereafter, only during annual enrollment or if you leave your plan's service area. You must make your request to the GIC in writing. Annual enrollment changes are effective the following July 1.
Q) I am retired and am separating or getting divorced. What happens to my spouse's health coverage?
A) Massachusetts law requires that the GIC be notified of an enrollee's legal separation or divorce. Notify the GIC in writing and provide the following: name, GIC identification number (usually Social Security number), address, your former spouse's last known home address, and a copy of the following sections of the legal separation or divorce agreement: page with the date of the legal separation or "divorce absolute" date, health insurance provisions, and signature pages. The GIC will provide you and your former spouse with information about continuation coverage.
Q) I am a divorced retiree who is getting remarried (or my former spouse is getting remarried). What do I need to do?
A) Massachusetts law requires that the GIC be notified of an enrollee's or the enrollee's former spouse's remarriage. Failure to notify the GIC of a remarriage can result in financial liabilities to you and/or your former spouse. Retirees must notify the GIC in writing of the remarriage. Send a copy of your new marriage certificate, if applicable, and your former spouse's last known home address, and a copy of the following sections of your divorce decree: page with absolute date, health insurance language, and signature pages.
Q) What happens to my minor children's coverage if I die after retiring and there is no surviving parent?
A) Upon your death and if there is no surviving parent, your minor children may continue in the group health plan until age 19, provided they continue to meet eligibility requirements and are not eligible for other group health coverage.
Q) How do I pay the premiums for my health and/or life insurance (state retirees only) coverage after I retire?
A) Premiums will be deducted from your monthly pension. As it frequently takes several months to receive your first pension check, the GIC will bill you directly for premiums due until your GIC deductions begin.
Q) What should I do if I do not receive a premium bill from the GIC after I retire?
A) Although this happens infrequently, if you have not received a bill by your third month of retirement, call the GIC to avoid losing your coverage. Do not send a payment without a bill unless you are instructed to do so.
Always keep the GIC informed of your correct address so that you will receive bills and other important materials. Even if you have notified the retirement board of a change of address, you must also notify the GIC. If you plan to be away for several months, or you are ill, make arrangements for your mail to be forwarded, or for a relative or friend to pay your bills for you.
Q) If I am retired and waive my pension, what happens to my GIC benefits?
A) Your GIC benefits as a retiree end. You are, however, eligible to continue benefits as a Deferred Retiree.
Q) What happens to my GIC benefits if my pension is revoked?
A) You will no longer be eligible for GIC benefits.
Q) What happens to my GIC benefits if I withdraw my retirement money from my retirement system?
A) You will no longer be eligible for GIC benefits.
Q) What will optional life insurance cost after I retire (state retirees only)?
A) Optional life insurance premium rates change, increasing when you retire from the state and as you age. At retirement, review the amount of your optional life insurance coverage to see if it makes economic sense for you to keep it; if you have paid off your major debts (such as your home and education loans), a savings vehicle may be a more appropriate alternative. You may only cancel, decrease, or maintain your current level of optional life coverage after you retire.
Q) When I left state or municipal service, I kept my money the state or municipal retirement system. I am now planning to retire and collect a state or municipal pension. How do I pick up retiree health coverage with the GIC?
A) When you apply for retirement benefits with your retirement board, notify the GIC in writing of your planned retirement date and request to enroll in GIC. The GIC will determine eligibility and notify you of your health coverage effective date.
This information provided by the Group Insurance Commission.