Learn More About Survivors

An overview of survivor benefits and eligibility.

Updated on December 22, 2016

If you die, your surviving spouse may be eligible for GIC health insurance

If you (the state or municipal employee/retiree) have coverage through the GIC at the time of your death, your surviving spouse is eligible for GIC health insurance coverage until he/she remarries or dies. However, he/she must apply for survivor spouse coverage by contacting the GIC for a survivor application; survivor coverage is not an automatic benefit. If your surviving spouse is a state or participating municipal employee or retiree, he or she must elect coverage through the state or participating municipality and is not eligible for survivor health coverage.

What to do if you are a surviving spouse of a Commonwealth or participating municipality employee/retiree enrolled in a GIC health plan and are turning age 65

When you are age 65, visit your local Social Security Administration Office to see if you are eligible for Medicare Part A for free. If you are eligible, you must enroll  in Medicare Part B and enroll in a Medicare Plan sponsored by the GIC. The GIC will contact you about your options.

If you are a legally separated or divorced employee/retiree, when you die, your legally separated or former spouse is not eligible for survivor health insurance

Your legally separated or former spouse may continue coverage under COBRA for up to 36 months after your death. Alternately, if your separated or former spouse a Massachusetts resident, he/she may purchase health insurance directly from the Massachusetts Health Connector (1.877.623.6765). If he or she lives in another state, he/she can find out about coverage in that state through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

If you are the former spouse or legally separated spouse of a Commonwealth or participating municipality employee/retiree who has died and were covered under his/her GIC health coverage, you are not eligible to continue GIC health coverage

GIC health coverage for an employee's /retiree's former spouse ends when the employee/retiree dies. Former spouses and legally separated spouses are not eligible for survivor health coverage, but may apply for continuing coverage through COBRA or non-group conversion. Contact the GIC (617.727.2310) for additional information. Alternately, if you are a Massachusetts resident, you may purchase health insurance directly from the Massachusetts Health Connector (1.877.623.6765). If he or she lives in another state, he/she can find out about coverage in that state through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

When your coverage ends if you have GIC health insurance as a surviving spouse

Survivor health insurance coverage ends when you stop paying your premiums, remarry, or die, whichever occurs first.

If you are a surviving spouse of a state or municipal employee and work for the state or a participating municipality, and you are eligible for GIC health insurance benefits; you are not eligible for survivor coverage

Surviving spouses who are also a state or participating municipal employee or retiree are not eligible for coverage as survivors. If you, as a surviving spouse, leave your state or municipal job, you may become eligible for survivor coverage at that time. Contact the GIC at (617.727.2310 Ext. 6) for details.

What happens to your GIC coverage if you are a survivor who is remarrying

Your coverage as a survivor ends at the end of the month in which you remarry. You are eligible to convert to non-group coverage with your health plan. Alternately, if you are a Massachusetts resident, you may purchase health insurance directly from the Massachusetts Health Connector (1.877.623.6765).  If he or she lives in another state, he/she can find out about coverage in that state through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

If you die, and there is no surviving parent, your orphan child may be eligible for GIC health insurance coverage, as long as you are a GIC insured and cover a dependent 

Your child is only eligible for GIC health insurance if he or she is does not have a living parent and is under age 26.  The child’s legal representative must contact the GIC’s continuing coverage unit to apply for coverage on behalf of the child.  A copy of the certified death certificates for both  parents must be submitted to the GIC.

What happens to your minor children's health coverage if you die and there is no surviving parent

Upon your death and if there is no surviving parent, your minor children may continue in the group health plan until age 26, provided they continue to meet eligibility requirements and are not eligible for other group health coverage.

When you can enroll in GIC health insurance and/or Retiree Dental if you are a survivor of a state or participating municipal employee or retiree, married to the insured at the time of death and have not remarried, or you have received health insurance coverage elsewhere

You can enroll in health insurance and/or Retiree Dental during Annual Enrollment or within 60 days of a qualifying event. Acceptable documentation of the qualifying event and the Enrollment/Change form must be received at the GIC within 60 days of the qualifying event. Qualifying events include:

  • Involuntary loss of health insurance elsewhere
  • Loss of eligibility of Medicaid or CHIP coverage
  • Dependent moving to United States

Forms and documentation must be received at the GIC within 60 days of the qualifying event. Documents and forms received after 60 days of the qualifying event will be denied and you must wait until the next Annual Enrollment to enroll in coverage. 

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