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Learn More About Retirement and GIC Benefits

An overview of retirement eligibility, benefits, pensions, and premiums.

Eligibility and Benefits at the Time of Retirement

Updated June, 2018

Please refer to the Medicare section for additional information on Medicare and your GIC benefits.

What your GIC benefit choices are if you are retiring from state employment from a GIC-eligible agency and are eligible for a retirement pension

As a retiree you may continue, change, or enroll in health coverage with the GIC, and may enroll in the GIC Retiree Dental Plan. Enrollment and changes must be received within 60 days of retirement. If you are Medicare eligible, you must enroll in a GIC Medicare Plan.  State employees who are retiring may want to consider reducing or dropping their optional life insurance. You may do this at any time completing and returning to the GIC an Employment Status Change Form (Form 1A) or by writing to the GIC. However, you may not increase the amount of your optional life insurances at retirement. 

If you keep your money in the state or municipal retirement system, and you are now planning to retire and collect a state or municipal pension you must apply with the Employment Status Change (Form-1 for State Retirees or Form 1AMUN for Municipal Retirees) and Retiree/Survivor Enrollment/Change form within 60 days of your retirement date. Otherwise, you must wait until the next Annual Enrollment to enroll. If you are Medicare eligible, you must enroll in one of the GIC Medicare Plans. If you are not Medicare eligible, you will enroll in a GIC Non Medicare plan. The GIC will determine eligibility and notify you of your health coverage effective date.

What your GIC benefit choices are if you are retiring from a GIC participating municipality and are eligible for a retirement pension

As a retiree you may continue, change, or enroll in health coverage with the GIC.  Enrollment and changes must be received by the GIC within 60 days of  the retirement. If you are Medicare eligible, you must enroll in a GIC Medicare plan. If your participating municipality offers GIC Retiree Dental Coverage, you may enroll in that plan at retirement.

How to find out whether you are eligible for a state pension

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.

If you do not have GIC health benefits, you may enroll in GIC health insurance benefits or elect benefits upon your retirement

You may enroll in GIC health insurance benefits during the GIC’s spring Annual Enrollment period or within 60 days of a qualifying event (e.g. involuntary loss of coverage elsewhere, marriage, or spouse's open enrollment). In order to be eligible for GIC health insurance, you must be collecting a monthly pension from the State Retirement Board or another participating public retirement system and be retired from a participating state agency or municipality.

If you were eligible for GIC benefits at retirement, you can enroll in GIC health insurance as a state or municipal retiree as long as you have been approved and continue to receive a retirement or pension allowance from the State Board of Retirement or a participating public retirement system and the GIC receives the forms within 60 days of the retirement. The GIC will determine your effective date. Otherwise, you must wait until the next Annual Enrollment to enroll.

What to do while I am still working to make sure my health insurance continues when I retire

Before you retire, see your GIC Coordinator at your work site to complete the Form-1A(State) or Form-1AMUN(Municipal) to continue coverage. The GIC recommends that you return the completed form to your coordinator before your retirement date to ensure timely billing or your premium and continuity of coverage.

What your health coverage choices are when you retire

Your choices depend on whether you or (if applicable) your spouse are eligible for Medicare and where you live.

If you are and/or your spouse are eligible for Medicare Part A (for free), state law requires that you enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B and select one of the GIC's Medicare Plans.

Refer to the Benefit Decision Guide for general information, or contact the plans for more detailed information about your health plan choices. When selecting a plan, you should consider benefits, convenience, and how your health may change after you retire.

You may change health plans when you retire

The GIC must receive the form within 60 days of the retirement. Thereafter you may change plans only during annual enrollment, if you move outside of your plan's service area or if you become eligible for Medicare (at which point you must enroll in a GIC Medicare Plan). Annual enrollment changes are effective the following July 1.

How to pay the premiums for state retiree health and/or life insurance coverage after you retire

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 the retiree share of premium (20%) until your GIC deductions begin.  It’s important to pay this monthly bill by the due date to avoid termination of coverage. Municipal Retirees - contact your benefits office for details.

What you should do if you do not receive a premium bill from the GIC after you retire (state retirees only)

Although this happens infrequently, if you have not received a bill within 60 days of retirement, call the GIC, or submit to our online form 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. Learn more about qualifying events and your options here.  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.

What happens to your GIC benefits if you are retired and waive your pension

Your GIC benefits as a retiree end. You are, however, eligible to continue benefits as a Deferred Retiree.

What happens to your GIC benefits if your pension is revoked or if you withdraw your retirement money from your retirement system

You will no longer be eligible for GIC benefits.

What coverage you lose when you retire from state service

Long Term Disability, the Health Care Spending Account (HCSA), and the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) are for active state employees only. Your coverage in those plans ends when you retire from state service. You may elect to continue to contribute to HCSA through COBRA by making direct payments on an after-tax basis. Eligibility for  this option is determined by the plan administrator.

What happens to your coverage when you retire, if you have GIC Dental/Vision coverage

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, but have a higher premium.

What your optional life insurance will cost after you retire (state retirees only)

Optional life insurance premium rates change, increasing when you retire from the state and as you age. You may only cancel, decrease, or maintain your current level of optional life coverage after you retire. Keep in mind that if you do not change your Optional Life Insurance election at retirement, you will be responsible for the retiree life insurance premium, which can be substantial. Important Reminder:  Life insurance policy is a term policy with no cash surrender value.

Learn more about GIC Retired Municipal Teachers

According to Massachusetts Law Chapter 32B, the following cities, towns and school districts participate in our Retired Municipal Teacher (RMT) benefit program. If your school district is not listed, contact your local benefit office for your district's benefit options and forms:

When you should apply for coverage

You should apply before your retirement date.  For example, if you are retiring in June, we suggest that you apply by June 15th. If you are retiring at the end of December, we suggest that you apply by December 15th. Applications received after 60 days of retirement will require certification of coverage through the city/town/school district at retirement and proof of involuntary loss of other health coverage.

What the health plan options are for GIC Retired Municipal Teachers

See the GIC health insurance products section of this website for health plan options.

Where to obtain the forms

You obtain the forms from the insurance coordinator at your school department or on the forms section of this website. Be sure to submit the required documents outlined on the form with your application

When to change your coverage

If you wish to change from one health plan to another, you may only do so at Annual Enrollment, if you move outside your plan's service area, or if you become eligible for Medicare (at which time you must enroll in a GIC Medicare Plan).

If you wish to change from life insurance only to life and health coverage, you must apply within 60 days of a qualifying event or wait until the GIC's next Annual Enrollment.

You may change from individual to family coverage or family to individual coverage within 60 days of a qualifying status change. See the qualifying life events section for additional details. Otherwise, you must wait until Annual Enrollment to make a change.

How to change your life insurance beneficiary

You may change beneficiaries at any time by completing a Beneficiary Designation (Form 319 for one to three beneficiaries; G-500 for four or more beneficiaries or special designations, such as an estate and trusts). Call the GIC at 617.727.2310 for the form.

What happens to your coverage if your municipality is joining the GIC

You will continue to be eligible for GIC health insurance and will now be eligible for all GIC health plan options.  You must enroll in health coverage during the designated open enrollment period.  Municipalities are not eligible for GIC life insurance.  You will lose this coverage, but may be able to pick it up through the municipality.  Some municipalities participate in the GIC's Retiree Dental plan, see the Retiree Dental section for details.

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