Benefited Faculty and Staff
Benefited employees are eligible for insurance coverage through the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission (GIC)
Benefited faculty and staff ('employees') may enroll for coverage under a Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission (GIC) health insurance plan within the first twenty-one (21) days of benefited employment. Coverage is effective the first day of the month following sixty (60) days in a benefited position.
Employees contribute twenty-five percent (25%) of the total premium for health and basic life ($5,000 of term life) insurance coverage and may extend coverage to their spouse and child/ren under 26 years of age by providing supporting information & documentation. Plan and premium information appears in the GIC Benefit Decision Guide. New employees receive information at your new employee orientation about your health insurance options.
Employees may change health insurance plans (or add/remove dependents from their plan) during April open enrollment for a change effective the following July 1 or within sixty (60) calendar days days (and documentation) of an applicable GIC-qualifying event.
- UMass Amherst Human Resources Employee Service Center
- Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission (telephone: 617.727.2310)
Information provided on these webpages is for informational purposes. Where this information differs from GIC policy or determination by the GIC or its representative, the latter will prevail.
Employees may enroll in or modify health insurance coverage
Employees may enroll in or modify health insurance coverage:
- Within 21 calendar days of hire into a benefited position
Enrollment information is provided at orientation.
- During annual open enrollment (this occurs each April) with plan changes effective the following July 1. During open enrollment members may change health insurance plan and add/remove qualified dependents.
- Within 60 calendar days of, and with documentation of, a qualifying event. Please reference the GIC qualifying event chart for a list of changes that may be made and required supporting documentation. The GIC determines effective date of changes.
How to select a GIC health insurance plan
The Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission (GIC) “State Employee Benefits Guide” provides an overview of the health insurance options available to benefited UMass employees (and corresponding premiums). Page 4 outlines which plans are available based on where we live; page 5 provides the premiums & pages 6-7 provides a high level plan comparison.
Prescription coverage across all GIC plans is identical (administrated by Express Scripts).
Most individuals and families want to keep the physicians they are currently using & also have a preference of what hospitals they can access, looking to balance a) access to our preferred providers, b) cost of the plans and c) how flexible the plans are.
In reviewing your options:
- Which plans are available where you live?
Start by reviewing the Guide: find the county in which you live & identify which plans are available to you based on where you live.
- Which hospitals and doctors are in network and at what tier?
This key step is where you may want to:
- Contact your doctors’ offices to inquire which plans they accept (when inquiring please use the full plan name. For instance the GIC offers 4 different UniCare Plans, some doctors accept some, but not all of, the plans) & what their co-pay tier is, and/or
- Visit the plan websites (provided in the Guide) to find if your doctor is in a plan’s network and at what co-pay tier.
- Review the hospital listing on the GIC's website.
- How flexible is each plan?
On pages 6&7 of the Guide you’ll notice that many copays are the same across plans – key differences between the plans include:
- If the plan requires you to have a Primary Care Physician (PCP)
- If the plan requires you to obtain a referral to see a specialist
- If you have coverage seeing an out-of-network provider (all plans provide coverage in the case of emergency regardless of if the provider is in-network):
- EPO/HMO type: does not offer out-of-network benefits with the exception of emergency care. Selection of a Primary Care Provider (PCP) is encouraged.
- HMO: does not offer out-of-network benefits with the exception of emergency care. Selection of a Primary Care Provider (PCP) is required.
- POS: Selection of a Primary Care Provider (PCP) is required. To get the lowest out-of-pocket cost a member must get a referral for care by a specialist.
- PPO: allow treatment by out-of-network providers at a lower level of coverage. Selection of a Primary Care Provider (PCP) is encouraged
- Weigh these answers against the premiums on page 5 (indeed the indemnity plans, which provide most access and coverage, are most costly).