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Learn More About Layoffs from State Service

An overview of your health plan and other benefit options when you are laid off from the state.

Updated on October 7, 2015

Options are listed in order of recommended selection. For all options, complete and return to your GIC Coordinator the Employment Status Change Form (Form-1A).

What your insurance options are if you have been laid off, are not vested in the retirement system, and are not eligible for a state pension

You may continue your coverage or pick up other 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.  At the end of the 39-weeks, you may elect COBRA health and GIC Dental/Vision coverage within 60 days 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). 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 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.
  • 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.

If you have been laid off and are vested in the retirement system, and you are leaving retirement money in the State's retirement system; you may continue health and life coverage

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 within 60 days of 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 pick up coverage with the Commonwealth Health Connector (Massachusetts residents).

How to continue your health and life coverage with the GIC if you are being laid off and are eligible to receive a retirement pension

If you begin receiving a retirement pension, 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.

If you quit or are fired from your job, and are not retiring, you may continue health and life coverage

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 preceding questions for your options. However, if your agency determines that you have been fired for gross misconduct, you are not eligible for COBRA coverage.

How to cancel your coverage if you are enrolled under the COBRA, 39-week or Deferred Retirement provision

Complete the Enrollment/Change Form (Form-1) and send to the GIC. Or, send a letter to the GIC requesting that your coverage be terminated. Include your name, address, and GIC ID Number (usually your Social Security Number). Coverage will be terminated at the end of the month in which your premium is paid.


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