Health Benefits and the COVID-19 Pandemic

The GIC provides several resources to help members cope with the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Table of Contents

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Do GIC members have to pay anything to receive the COVID19 vaccine?

The vaccine itself provided free of charge to all individuals by the federal government. Furthermore, the GIC has directed all its insurance companies that they may not charge any co-pays or deductibles for administration of the vaccine. Be aware that if you receive the COVID-19 vaccine while seeing a health care provider for a different reason, you may be charged a copay and/or deductible for the office visit. If you receive the COVID-19 vaccine from an out-of-network provider, you may be charged the difference between what the provider charges for the administration fee and the amount that your insurance pays for the administration fee.

Is the vaccine covered by my health plan or pharmacy plan?

  • For members covered by a Medicare plan, claims will be covered under Medicare Part B.
  • For GIC non-Medicare members, claims will be covered under the Express Scripts prescription drug plan. express-scripts.com/home/covid19.

Am I eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine and booster?

Learn about the Massachusetts COVID-19 vaccination phases. COVID-19 vaccinations are available and encouraged for all eligible members and their families. 

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on your eligibility for the vaccine and boosters in the Commonwealth, please visit mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine.

Where can I go to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

The vaccine will be available at doctors’ offices, pharmacies, hospitals, federally qualified health centers and other sites designated by state and local officials. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please visit https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine.

  • You can find a nearby location where you can get vaccinated using the CDC’s interactive website: vaccinefinder.org.
  • You can check with your primary care provider, local pharmacy, or local health department.

Information will also be available on the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website: mass.gov/covid19.

Who can administer the COVID-19 vaccine?

In addition to licensed health care providers, such as doctors and nurses and pharmacists, according to the federal CARES Act, vaccinations may be administered by pharmacy interns, certified pharmacy techs, paramedics, and certified medical assistants, under the direct supervision of a primary care provider.

How many doses of the vaccine will I need?

Vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna, require two shots. Booster shots are recommended for most vaccinated individuals to combat evolving variants of the virus.  The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one shot, and others may be developed in the future.

Do I need to receive both doses of the vaccine from the same manufacturer?

Yes. Cards will be issued at the time of your first shot that will tell you which vaccine you received.

How do I know if the vaccine is safe?

Vaccines will only be distributed if they have met the FDA’s rigorous scientific standards. Please consult your health care provider if you have particular health concerns.

For up-to-date information on COVID-19 and the vaccine, please visit:

COVID-19 Vaccination Program | Mass.gov

COVID-19 Vaccine in Massachusetts | Mass.gov

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination | CDC

*Updated February 2022

COVID-19 Testing

Call your medical provider first. Do not use public transportation, ride sharing services, or taxis.

If you suspect you have contracted COVID-19 that you first call your medical provider or medical facility to ensure they are capable of safely receiving, assessing, testing and treating you without risking further exposure and transmission. You can also check with a physician through your telehealth benefit to determine whether you need to be tested.

COVID-19 Stress and Anxiety

The Optum toll-free Emotional Support Help  Line is available to all GIC-eligible public employees and their dependents, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

1-866-342-6892

This support is provided through GIC’s Mass4YOU Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This help line is available at no cost.  You do not have to be enrolled in a GIC Health Insurance plan to use it. All calls are confidential in accordance with the law.

COVID-19 Related Insurance Claim

The GIC has directed all its health carriers to waive:

  1. Co-pays and deductibles associated with COVID-19 testing
  2. Co-pays for claims associated with COVID-19 treatment

Medical providers will enter specific codes for testing and treatment related to COVID-19, and those claims will be subject to automated processes for waiver or reimbursement. Always check with your health carrier, as there are instances in which charges may occur.

Virtual Medical and Behavioral Health Care

All GIC health carriers already offer telehealth capabilities to support remote access to care through telephone, smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computers. All health carriers have been instructed to waive all telehealth copays to promote its use. Check this list of telehealth resources by health carrier or look on the back of your GIC health insurance card. Always check with your health carrier, as there are instances in which charges may occur.

AllWays Health Partners - ondemand.partners.org

Fallon Health - member.teladoc.com/fallon

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care - doctorondemand.com

Health New England - healthnewengland.org/teladoc

Tufts Health Plan - Via Teladoc app on the app store

UniCare - livehealthonline.com

Work-life Balance Services

To access the full spectrum of work-life balance services offered to all GIC-eligible public employees and their dependents.

Call the Commonwealth’s toll-free Mass4YOU Employee Assistance Program 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are confidential in accordance with the law.

1-844-263-1982 / liveandworkwell.com

Health Plan Coverage Details

Benefit Eligibility of Furloughed Employees

Pursuant to M.G.L. Ch. 32A, § 3 and Ch. 32B §11, the Group Insurance Commission is charged with issuing information and advisory rulings in accordance with the provisions of Ch. 30A, §8. Under that authority, we issue this advisory bulletin concerning GIC benefit eligibility of employees who have been furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During this period, when all our members are struggling with the impact of COVID-19, the GIC prioritizes any member request to: (1) retain benefits to avoid a lapse in current insurance coverage, (2) access new benefits to which they are entitled without delay, and (3) limit or relieve, to the extent possible,financial burdens by prioritizing life insurance claim processing and by allowing reduction or elimination of optional benefits.

Under the Department of Unemployment Assistance 430 CMR 22.00: COVID-19 Emergency Regulations, claimants temporarily unemployed due to COVID-19 with an expected return-to-work date are classified as “Standby Status.” Standby status is meant to help both employers and their employees in situations where the unemployment is expected to be temporary.

The GIC, in keeping with this definition and the three priorities outlined above, considers employees furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic to be GIC benefit-eligible provided that the employee and employer share of premiums continue to be paid. GIC does not require participating employers to report furloughs and will continue to bill participating employers for all existing participating employees in the normal course of business. If at some point in the future a furloughed employee’s status changes to a non-COVID-19 layoff or termination, the participating employer should notify GIC so it can take the appropriate steps concerning the employee’s coverage.

If you have questions regarding this bulletin, please submit an inquiry through the GIC Online Contact Form and select the GIC Coordinator option.

Additional Resources

Contact

Phone

Main Phone (617) 727-2310

M-F 8:45 a.m.-5 p.m.

TDD/TTY 711

Fax

Operations (617) 227-2681
Executive (617) 227-5181
Fiscal (617) 367-9874

Address

Street Address
John W. McCormack Building
1 Ashburton Place, Suite 1619
Boston, MA 02108
Enrollment Form and Member Correspondence Mailing Address
PO Box 556
Randolph, MA 02368
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