GIC Frequently Asked Questions

Commonly asked questions for GIC members

Table of Contents

General

Q: What coverages are GIC members eligible for?

Visit GIC Benefits to review GIC benefit offerings listed by GIC member type. Note: Member eligibility and participation for these programs varies based on employer.​

Q: Where can I find information about the cost of my health insurance coverage? 

Costs for healthcare benefits are available in the GIC’s Benefit Guides or the MyGICLink Member Benefits Portal

Q. How can I view and update my benefits? 

Save time and paper by viewing your benefits online 24/7 and make changes to your benefits on the MyGICLink Member Benefits Portal. Learn more about MyGICLink. 

Q. When will Benefit Guides be available online? 

Updated Benefit Guides are available immediately before GIC’s Annual Enrollment, at the beginning of April every year. These guides provide GIC members with important benefit information for the upcoming benefits year (July 1st – June 30th of each year), including health insurance plan comparisons, rates, copays, important reminders, and more. 

Q: How can I find out what health insurance terms like POS, PPO, HMO, Network, deductible, copay, and more mean? 

Please visit GIC’s Glossary to learn about commonly used terms by the GIC.  

Q: Will the GIC be offering in-person health fairs?

Every year the GIC offers virtual health fair presentations, available immediately before Annual Enrollment begins at the beginning of April every year. 

Q: Can I use MyGICLink Member Benefits Portal for Annual Enrollment? 

Yes; All GIC members can enroll in or update GIC benefits using MyGICLink Member Benefits Portal

If you have not registered, please register in advance of Annual Enrollment.  

If you have not received a registration email for MyGICLink, please Contact Us. For more information, visit bit.ly/Mygiclink. 

Q: Is there a mobile phone app for the MyGICLink Member Benefits portal?

No, but you can access MyGICLink on your mobile phone by going to mass.gov/mygiclink-member-benefits-portal; it is mobile-friendly.  

Q: What is the number at GIC if you need to speak to someone regarding your specific circumstances?

The GIC's phone number is 617-727-2310. 

Q. How can I sign up for MyGICLink? What should I do if I don’t know my pin?

You may review Find registration and pin instructions. You may also review the How to register & login video tutorial. Note: Make sure to provide the GIC with an up-to-date personal email address to receive a registration email for MyGICLink and to continue to have access to MyGICLink if you change agencies and once you retire.  

Q: Does GIC hold Public Information Sessions for GIC Coordinators?

GIC provides GIC Coordinators with an Annual Enrollment training presentation immediately before Annual Enrollment, at the beginning of April every year.  

Q: What municipalities and regional school districts participate in GIC?

A list of participating municipalities and regional school districts can be found on GIC's website at mass.gov/info-details/gic-participating-municipalities.  

Q: Does mental health fall under behavioral health?

Yes. 

Q. How can I find what network/tiers my hospitals are in?

You may review the GIC’s hospital list, which is updated at the beginning of April every year, for coverage information for each GIC health insurance plan. Be sure to consult the health plan's online provider directory or call the plan directly for more information on individual providers (e.g., tier designation and hospital admitting privileges). Find your health plan’s website

Q. If I enroll in or update GIC benefits during Annual Enrollment, when will my benefits be active?

The GIC plan year begins July 1st and ends on June 30th of every year. If you enroll in a health insurance plan during Annual Enrollment, your health insurance benefits will be effective July 1 of the year you enroll in. Note: New hires coverage effective date varies, please review the new hire coverage information.  

Q. If I am eligible for GIC benefits but not currently a GIC member how should I enroll in GIC benefits? 

You may enroll in GIC Benefits during Annual Enrollment or within 60 days of an Qualifying Event.   

Q. What are eligible qualifying events to update or enroll in GIC benefits?

Please review the Qualifying Events page for a full list of qualifying events to update or enroll in GIC benefits.  

Q. If I am a state or municipal employee, how can I confirm if I’m eligible for GIC benefits?

Verify eligibility by contacting your GIC coordinator using the GIC benefits coordinator list. If eligible, your GIC coordinator can explain what benefits you’re eligible for and help you enroll in benefits for the first time. Note: When you apply for benefits, please make sure to provide the GIC with an up-to-date personal email address to receive a registration email for the MyGICLink Member Benefits Portal

Health Insurance Plans

Q: Why is UniCare changing it's name to Wellpoint?

A: Effective July 1, 2024, UniCare is changing its name to Wellpoint to reflect their mission of supporting GIC members' whole health. View FAQs on UniCare's website to learn more.

Q: I need a new or replacement health insurance card. What should I do? 

The GIC does not provide health insurance health cards. Contact your health insurance plan by visiting mass.gov/lists/gic-carrier-contact-information.

Q: Will there be materials available about next Fiscal Year plan design & rate recommendations? 

Any proposed plan design recommendations are presented at the winter commission meetings. All commission meeting materials are published on our website after each commission meeting. 

Q: When does the commission vote on next Fiscal Year plan design & rate recommendations? 

The Commission generally votes in February and March on proposed plan design & rate recommendations for the upcoming Fiscal Year (July 1st - June 30th of each year). 

Q. When are new health plan designs and/or rates available each year? 

New Fiscal Year health plan designs and/or rates are available on GIC Benefit Guides immediately before GIC’s Annual Enrollment in the beginning of April of each year. 

Q: I am having an issue with my health insurance carrier. What should I do?     

Members seeking assistance or guidance regarding an insurance matter should contact their health insurance carrier by visiting mass.gov/lists/gic-carrier-contact-information or calling the phone number on the back of their health insurance card. 

Q: I have a question regarding a health insurance claim? 

Contact your health insurance plan by visiting mass.gov/lists/gic-carrier-contact-information. 

Q: Does the GIC offer a +1 health plan in addition to individual and family coverage?  

The GIC has investigated offering an individual plus one plan as well as an employee plus children plan. The challenge that the GIC would have in offering these, is that the premiums for families would increase significantly. GIC members often choose to cover more family members than other employer-sponsored plans, including other public sector health plans. 

The GIC will continue to evaluate its coverage tiers each year, and if it is determined that such a change would be advantageous to the GIC’s membership at large, it could be implemented in the future.  

Q: Do healthcare plans cover telehealth? 

Yes, telehealth is covered and health plans may utilize the same or new telemedicine subcontractors as their providers; contact your health insurance plan by visiting mass.gov/lists/gic-carrier-contact-information. 

Q: Is there a maximum number of people that can be added to a family plan?  

No.  

Q: Where would I find the deductibles for each plan?  

Please review the GIC Benefit Guides.  

Q: If I switch providers will pre-existing conditions be covered?  

Yes.  

Q: Who do I contact to find out if a medical procedure is covered?  

Contact your health plan for coverage and cost information.  

Q: Does GIC offer High Deductible health insurance plans?  

No.  

Q: If I move out of my health plan’s service area, how will this impact my GIC benefits?  

You must live in your health plan's service area to be eligible for the plan. If you move outside of your health plan’s service area, this is considered a Qualifying Event to update your GIC benefits since you will no longer be eligible for the GIC health plan you enrolled in. 

Q: Once my dependent turns 26 and is no longer covered under the GIC plan, what will I need to do to remove them from my plan and lower my cost?  

Enrolled dependents that reach age 26 are automatically removed from a GIC member's health plan at the end of the month of their 26th birthday.  

Q. Are there limitations to the health plans available for remote workers? 

Health plan enrollment eligibility is based on permanent residence on record with the GIC for all employees (remote, hybrid, in-person). There are multiple health plans available to GIC members that offer coverage to in-network providers nationwide if traveling.  

For a complete list of GIC plan offerings and their residency requirement please review the Health Insurance Locator Map on the GIC Benefit Guides to determine which plan(s) you’re eligible for.  

For details regarding health plan national networks/out-of-area coverage, contact the health plan

Q: Does a dependent moving to a state outside of New England (not for college) under the age of 26 still qualify to be covered as long as the "member" lives in MA?  

Yes, the dependent under age 26 still qualifies and must follow the plan's rules for coverage outside of the service area.  

Q: Is there consideration to cover acupuncture services? 

Acupuncture coverage is under consideration for future health plan design changes.  

Q: When I enroll in a health plan, how long does it take for it to be active?  

Enrolling during Annual Enrollment: Coverage is effective July 1st of the year your enroll. 

Enrolling during a Qualifying Event: Coverage effective dates vary depending on the event; if you are registered for the MyGICLink member benefits portal, you can confirm that your application has been  approved along with the effective date of coverage. 

Enrolling as a new hire: Completed applications and required documentation must be received by your GIC Coordinator no later than your 10th calendar day of regular, benefit eligible employment. If you miss the deadline, you must have a Qualifying Event or wait until the next Annual Enrollment period to enroll in GIC insurance benefits. Because GIC premiums are paid a month in advance, you are subject to a 60 day new hire waiting period before your coverage is effective. For example, if you were hired on June 10, your coverage will not begin until September 1. 

Q: What is the best way to find out if our providers are covered and what their copay would be, as we try to decide which health plan to choose?  

Review GIC’s Benefit Guides, contact the health plans, and view their provider directories at mass.gov/lists/gic-benefits-contact-information

Q. If a dependent lives outside of New England, but the enrollee lives in New England, what are their plan options?  

Please review the health insurance locator map in the GIC Benefit Guides to determine which plan(s) you may enroll in.  

If you are an MA or New England resident who covers dependent family members who live in a different state (whether full-time or as a student), you may pick between the UniCare Total Choice, UniCare Plus and Harvard Pilgrim Explorer plans. These plans have national networks that can be used for enrolled family members residing outside of New England; contact the health plans for details regarding their national networks/out-of-area coverage and for information regarding behavioral health benefits.  

Q. What are my health plan options if I live outside of New England?  

Harvard Pilgrim Access America  

Q. What health plan is available for those living outside of the U.S.?  

UniCare Total Choice is the only health insurance plan offered by the GIC that is available for members living outside of the U.S.  

Q. Do all plans cover emergency services when you are traveling outside of the U.S.?   

Yes; please contact your health insurance plan for details.  

Q. I am a new state employee and want to opt out of GIC health insurance due to having other health insurance coverage. Am I eligible for the GIC health insurance buy-out program? If so how do I enroll/apply? 

New state employees do not have to enroll in health insurance with the GIC. The health insurance buy-out program is for GIC members enrolled in health insurance through the GIC. 

Information and eligibility requirements can be found the Health Insurance buy-out program page. 

non-Medicare Health Insurance Plan
Medicare Health Insurance Plan

Visit mass.gov/lists/gic-benefits-contact-information for a complete list of your health plan’s FAQs, provider directories, handbooks, and more.

Prescription Drug Benefits

Caremark and SilverScript ID cards mailed to subscribers and dependents, regardless of which plan they are enrolled in, will show the subscriber's name.

Note: If dependents covered under CVS Caremark or CVS SilverScript coverage would like to print a card with their name on it, they can go to caremark.com. Upon login, they would select plan & benefits in the toolbar and select print member ID card which would produce a card with that individual’s name.

Q: Will there be any changes to my pharmacy benefits in FY2024? 

If you are enrolled in a GIC non-Medicare plan, your pharmacy benefits will change. Pharmacy benefits will be administered by CVS Caremark for both non-Medicare and Medicare plans. 

Q: Will all our previous prescriptions at Express Scripts change to CVS Caremark automatically? 

Yes.

Q. Can I continue using a non-CVS pharmacy for monthly prescriptions? 

Yes. You may use your preferred pharmacy for a 30-day supply of medication. For a complete list of pharmacy options, please view the pharmacy locator map at info.caremark.com/oe/gic

Please note: CVS Caremark will allow two 30‐day fills for long‐term medications at your regular pharmacy before being asked to switch to 90‐day supplies. If you want to keep filling your long‐term medication prescriptions at your current pharmacy in 30‐day supplies without paying the full cost, you must opt-out once your new plan starts by calling CVS Caremark at (877) 876‐7214, option 2. 

Q: Is the new Rx plan mail order or only at CVS stores? 

Both options will be available to members, including the use of retail pharmacies other than CVS. 

Q: Would there be a price difference if I do not use a CVS retail pharmacy? 

CVS pharmacies provide the best savings for GIC members compared to other retailers. 

Q. Will there be a new specialty pharmacy with CVS Caremark for non-Medicare prescription benefits? 

Yes. Members on specialty medications will need to fill them through CVS Specialty instead of Accredo starting 7/1. Prior authorizations should be transferred. CVS will send information to members to assist with the transition prior to 7/1. Please review the Rx Prescription Drug Benefits page for more information. 

Q: Will there be a list of drugs that CVS Caremark covers, and which drugs they will not cover? 

Yes; the CVS Caremark formulary will be available on their website on the GIC Benefits Contact Information.

Learn more prescription drug benefits

Dental & Vision Benefits

Q: I don’t see the option to enroll in the GIC’s Dental/Vision plan on the MyGICLink Member Benefits Portal. How can I enroll in GIC’s Dental/Vision plan?

The GIC Dental/Vision Plan is for state employees who are not covered by collective bargaining or do not have another Dental and Vision Plan through the state. The plan primarily covers managers, legislators, legislative staff, confidential employees, and certain executive office staff. Employees of authorities, municipalities, and higher education are not eligible for GIC Dental/Vision coverage. Please contact your benefits office about dental/vision benefits that may be available to you through your employer/union.

Q: Can you enroll in dental insurance without enrolling in health insurance? 

Yes; GIC dental coverage is available to managers and other employees not covered under a collective bargaining agreement, regardless of whether you participate in health insurance. 

Q: Will anything be changing about dental or vision coverage? 

No. 

Q. Who manages state retiree dental and vision benefits? 

For eligible state retirees, GIC offers a Retiree Dental Plan through MetLife and a vision discount program with Davis Vision.

dental and vision plan
dental and vision plan
dental and vision plan
dental and vision plan

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) 

This benefit is available for active state or municipal employees only. 

Q. What is the plan year for the Flexible Spending Account benefit? 

FSA plan year information can be found on the Flexible Spending Accounts page

Q. What types of expenses can an FSA account be used for? 

FSA expenses information can be found on the Flexible Spending Accounts page

Q: Will the dollar amount of the Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) be increased to a greater level? 

The Medical FSA election limit for Fiscal Year 2024 is $3050. The Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) election limit will remain at $5000 per household. 

Q: Benefit Strategies will no longer be the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) provider for the GIC. Will my commuter benefits be affected by this? 

The commuter program is a separate program administered by the Office of the Comptroller. Please review their website at macomptroller.org/ for details.

LEARN MORE ABOUT FSAS

Disability Insurance Benefits

Q: What disability insurance is offered by the GIC and who is eligible? Is long-term disability insurance available to all state/municipal employees who are eligible for GIC health insurance?  

The GIC offers a long-term disability insurance benefit to eligible state employees. If you do not enroll as a new hire, you may apply to enroll at any time, subject to medical evidence of insurability. 

Q: Is there any long-term disability benefit available to municipal employees? 

Municipal employees are only eligible for health insurance through the GIC.

long term disability benefit
learn more about the state employee and state retiree life insurance and AD&D

Retirement & Turning 65

Q: I am planning to retire soon. What do I need to do? 

GIC members enrolled in a GIC benefit must notify the GIC of their retirement within 60 days of their retirement date by submitting the retirement qualifying event application on the MyGICLink Member Benefits Portal (recommended) or by completing the GIC Change Form 1A. 

If you’re not enrolled in a GIC benefit and you want to apply for GIC benefits for your retirement, you must notify the GIC of your retirement within 60 days of your retirement date by submitting the GIC Change Form RS application. You must also be collecting a monthly pension. 

Q. How do I pay for my GIC benefits when I retire? 

As a retiree, you will be billed monthly for your benefits until the premium can be deducted from your pension. 

Q: I am retiring before Annual Enrollment; will I have to redo all my choices during the Annual Enrollment period? 

No; however, the GIC strongly encourages members to review GIC’s Benefit Guides to actively shop and evaluate different coverage options during the Annual Enrollment period for coverage effective July 1.

Q. I'm going to retire, do I need to enroll separately for the Davis Vision discount program?   

No. State retirees are automatically eligible for the Davis Vision discount program if you are enrolled in GIC benefits. 

Q. Can state retirees increase their Basic Life Insurance coverage?

The Basic Life insurance coverage amount cannot be changed or increased.

Medicare

Q: Does the GIC offer a Medicare buy-in for members who do not qualify for Medicare Part A for free? 

No. The GIC continues to evaluate options for our non-Medicare eligible retirees. There are significant and serious challenges to calculating and administering the substantial penalty payments required for individuals who do not have enough qualifying quarters of work to participate in Medicare. At this point in time legislative action would be required to fund those penalty payments for impacted retirees and all retirees impacted must agree to enroll in Medicare.

Q: My spouse is turning 65 and will apply for Medicare. What do I have to do about continuing coverage on add-on plans through GIC? 

If you are retired, we will contact your spouse three months prior to their 65th birthday with information about applying for Medicare and selecting a GIC Medicare Plan. 

Q. I am a state employee retiring before the July 1,2024 plan year. Do I need to choose a Medicare plan during Annual Enrollment? My spouse is under the age of 65, will they still be covered by their current non-Medicare plan after I enroll in a Medicare plan? 

New retirees who are over age 65 and eligible for Medicare Part A (for free) and Medicare Part B can select a GIC Medicare using the Retirement Event application in the MyGICLink Member Benefits Portal or by completing the Medicare Plan Election form that will be mailed to you when GIC is notified of your official retirement. 

Spouses may continue to be covered by their current non-Medicare plan when the insured retiree enrolls in a Medicare plan. 

Q. My spouse didn't contribute to Social Security as a state employee; do they have to switch to a Medicare health plan at age 65? 

Your spouse will have to apply to Social Security Administration (SSA) to determine if they’re eligible for Medicare parts A and B.  If they’re not eligible, GIC will require proof of ineligibility from SSA.

Q. Am I eligible for GIC Medicare plans as an employee’s spouse? 

Medicare plans are only available to spouses of retired state & municipal members with GIC benefits, age 65 and older. 

Q. I am over age 65, still working for the state/municipality and enrolled in GIC benefits, do I need to enroll for a Medicare health plan? 

As an active state/municipal employee, you will remain in a non-Medicare plan until retirement.   

Please note: FSA is not available to retirees. 

Visit our GIC Medicare Enrollment page for information about Medicare enrollment, eligibility, resources for 65+ retirees, and more. 

New Hire Benefits Law Effective July 1, 2024

Q: What is RWP and why is the GIC implementing this change?

RWP stands for “Reduced Waiting Period,” meaning that the 60-day minimum waiting period currently in place for newly hired employees is being reduced. The GIC has long wanted to make this change and is doing so following a mandate from the Legislature in the FY24 budget. 

Q: What is the new hires law and what does it mandate?

The law mandates that, effective July 1, 2024, the GIC reduce the benefits waiting period for new hires in the following way:

  • If an individual is hired on the first of any month, their benefits are effective that same day (e.g., effective date of hire is September 1st, benefits are effective September 1st).
  • If an individual is hired on any day other than the first of the month, their benefits will be effective on the first day of the following month (e.g., effective date of hire is September 6th, benefits are effective October 1st).

Q. If a new employee is hired on the first of any month, when will their GIC benefits be effective?

If an employee is hired on the first day of the month, their GIC benefits will be effective that same day. (e.g., effective date of hire is September 1st, benefits are effective September 1st).

Q. If an employee is hired on any day other than the first day of any month, when will their GIC benefits be effective?

If an employee is hired on any day other than the first day of the month, their GIC benefits will be effective the first day of the following month. (e.g., effective date of hire is September 6th, benefits are effective October 1st).

Q. When will the New Hires Law Reduced Waiting Period (RWP) be in effect?

July 1, 2024.

Q. Who does the New Hires Law Reduced Waiting Period (RWP) impact? 

This change impacts GIC benefit eligible newly hired state and municipal employees.

Q. Will benefits-eligible employees hired before July 1st, 2024 be subject to the 60-day minimum waiting period?

Yes, without exception.

Q: Will there be any exceptions made for individuals with an effective hire date before July 1st?

Any individual hired before July 1, 2024 will be subject to the current 60-day minimum waiting period and there will be no exceptions made for individuals hired before July 1st.

Q. What resources can GIC coordinators share with new employees hired on and after July 1,2024 to help them understand when and how to enroll in GIC benefits?

The GIC has a variety of resources available for GIC coordinators to share with new hires, including MyGICLink member benefits portal resource videos for registration/login and how to elect GIC benefits as a new hire through the member benefits portal.

Q: Why do Coordinators need to obtain new hire email addresses?

Coordinators must obtain a new hire’s preferred email address to ensure that the new hire receives an email allowing them to register for the MyGICLink Member Benefits Portal. A “preferred email” address is one which the new hire has access to and checks regularly. The GIC encourages the use of a personal email address to continue to have access to MyGICLink if an employee changes agencies or retires.

Q: Can a new hire select a later start date for benefits, e.g., if the new hire still has benefits from their previous employer?

No. A new hire must select benefits within 21 days of their effective hire date. If the new hire does not elect benefits within 21 days (e.g. hire date is July 1, 2024, benefits must be selected by July 21st)., they will not be able to enroll in benefits until the next Annual Enrollment period or within 60 days of a Qualifying Event.

Q: How many days does a new hire have to select their benefits?

A newly hired employee has 21 days from their effective date of hire to select their GIC benefits. If the new hire does not select benefits within 21 days, they will not be able to enroll in benefits until the next Spring Annual Enrollment or within 60 days of a Qualifying Event.

Q: Will an employees' benefits end on the last day of the month following their termination date?

Yes. The benefits termination process is not changing.

Q: Will all health insurance carriers send a welcome email to new hires once the new hire has made their benefit selections?

Yes. All health insurance carriers will now send a welcome email.

Q: Will the MyGICLink member benefits portal prevent new hires from enrolling in benefits for which they are not eligible?

Yes. The portal only displays benefits the new hire is eligible for. New hires will only be able to enroll in benefits for which they are eligible.

Q: Is the MyGICLink member benefits portal the only way new hires can enroll in benefits?

No, but it is the preferred method and the GIC encourages exclusive use of the portal. MyGICLink is the most efficient and effective method for new hires to enroll in GIC benefits. 

Q: Does RWP apply to seasonal and/or temporary employees?

If the seasonal and/or temporary employee is eligible for GIC benefits, the RWP applies.

Q: Does this change impact employees transferring from another agency within the Commonwealth?

Employees that are enrolled in GIC benefits at the time of transfer to another agency can continue the benefits that they are eligible for through their new state or municipal employer. There is no change to the current process for employees that transfer agencies.

Q: Where can I find the RWP Coordinator Training recordings?

RWP Coordinator trainings can be found on the New Hire Benefits Law page or on the GIC’s YouTube Channel

New hires benefits law effective july 1 2024

Resources

Help Us Improve Mass.gov  with your feedback

Please do not include personal or contact information.
Feedback