New Municipal Member

Answers to questions specific to new municipal members joining GIC health coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on July 12, 2017


Q) What documentation must eligible municipal employees, retirees, and survivors provide with their initial GIC enrollment form?

A) A list of required documentation that must accompany an initial GIC enrollment form is located in the Initial Municipal Forms section of this website.

Q) Does the GIC offer health plans that are available to retirees and survivors who live outside of Massachusetts?

A) Yes.  For Non-Medicare retirees and survivors, the GIC offers the UniCare Indemnity Plan/Basic that is available throughout the United States and outside of the country.  For Medicare members, the GIC offers Harvard Pilgrim Medicare Enhance, available throughout the United States, and UniCare Indemnity Plan/Medicare Extension (OME), available throughout the United States and outside of the country.  Additionally, many of the GIC’s health plans are available in other New England States.  See the plan pages of this website for details.

Q) My municipality will be joining the GIC and I or my covered spouse are Medicare eligible, but not enrolled.  What do I need to do?

A) As of 2011, the state requires all eligible municipal retirees and survivors to enroll in Medicare.  You and/or your covered spouse who is eligible for Medicare Part A for free must enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B during the federal government’s open enrollment period of January 1 through March 31 of each year if you, the insured are retired.  If your municipality is joining the GIC in July, enroll in Medicare during the preceding winter federal enrollment period and then enroll in a GIC Medicare Plan during open enrollment.  (If you or your covered spouse is under age 65, refer to the combination coverage section for the Medicare/Non-Medicare coverage combination options.)  If your municipality joins the GIC during the fall, and you missed the federal government open enrollment period, you will enroll in a GIC non-Medicare plan during the special open enrollment period, enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B during Social Security's general Enrollment, and then enroll in a GIC Medicare Plan during the GIC’s spring annual enrollment period.  Any federal Medicare late enrollment fees will be paid by your municipality providing you enroll during the required timeframe.

Q) If the GIC has a budget surplus or deficit, does the surplus or deficit get passed along to participating municipalities and their members?

A)  No.  If there is a surplus, it goes to the Commonwealth’s General Fund.  Alternately, if the GIC has a deficit, supplemental funds are requested from the legislature; there is no attempt made to recoup the extra money needed from the municipalities.  Surpluses and deficits have occurred in almost equal number over the years.

Q)  How do I transfer my mail order prescription drugs to my new health plan’s prescription drug program?

A)  To save money on your maintenance medications, you will need to submit a new 90-day supply prescription to your health plan’s prescription drug program.  Drug programs do not usually transfer prescriptions or drug histories.  Your health plan or prescription drug welcome kit will include a mail order envelope for you to enclose mail order prescriptions.  Contact your plan for additional assistance.

Q) Why doesn’t the GIC offer Blue Cross Blue Shield?

A) Blue Cross Blue Shield did not bid on the GIC’s business during the last several health plan procurements.  The GIC conducts a competitive and open bidding process every five years and any and all health plans can submit bids.

Q) Can the GIC change copays and deductibles mid year?

A) In the last 22 years, the GIC has only had to change benefits mid year two times, due to serious budget shortfalls.  A recently enacted law (G.L.C.32A,S.6) prohibits the GIC from changing copays and deductibles mid year, with the exception of certain Medicare plans that are subject to federal approval.  Note, however, that a plan can change drug formularies during the year, which can affect your copays.


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