4: Benefits

4.1 Health Benefits
Health Insurance

All full-time and part-time benefited employees are eligible for a health insurance plan administered through the Group Insurance Commission that covers the employee, their spouse and dependent children (under the age of 19). Coverage is effective on the first of the month following 60 calendar days of employment.

Employees are eligible to join a health plan during their first 10 working days of employment. Changes to health plans may also be made during annual enrollment in April-May each year. There are other qualifying events (i.e. birth/adoption of a child, marriage, divorce, loss of spouse's benefits, etc.) that allow for enrollment in health plans outside of the annual enrollment period. Please contact the Benefits Office for more information.

  • Employees with a hire date on or before June 30, 2003, pay 20% of the premium.
  • Employees with a hire date after June 30, 2003, pay 25% of the premium

Use the form below to add your dependent ages 19-26 during the GIC’s Annual Enrollment, when your dependent changes to a full-time student living outside of the plan’s service area, or is no longer a full-time student.  You will need to offer proof of loss of other health coverage.  If you have a child already on your insurance who then turns age19 but has no changes (or is not a student) you do not need to make any changes.

Please keep in mind the following:

  • The insured must have family plan coverage.
  • The GIC will determine eligibility and effective dates

You MUST notify the GIC when your dependent age 19 to 26 is no longer a full-time student or has moved out of the health plan’s service area.

Dependent Ages 19 to 26 Enrollment/Change Form

For more information, visit the Dependents Age 19-26 page at GIC.


GIC health insurance coverage changes effective July 1, 2018

The GIC has selected Express Scripts to serve as the Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) for the non-Medicare population:

Prescription coverage will be identical across all GIC employee health insurance plans and managed by Express Scripts/ESI (www.express-scripts.com/gicrx or tel. 855-283-7679). Annual prescription deductibles still apply ($100/individual, $200/family).

  • Each member will receive a Welcome Packet and separate Pharmacy ID cards (2 cards per household); members will need to bring this card to the pharmacy when they fill any prescriptions. Cards will be mailed on June 10, 2018.
  • Maintenance medications not filled by mail order or at a CVS pharmacy are subject to 30-day copay charges. Members must notify ESI via telephone (tel. 855-283-7679) of decision not to use mail order or CVS.
  • Acredo Pharmacy (ESI) will provide specialty pharmacy coverage (tel. 855-283-7679)


Active State Employee Forms

Benefit Decision Guide

Professional Staff: Benefits at a Glance

Download the brochure.

Classified Staff: Benefits at a Glance

Download the brochure.

4.2 Dental Benefits
Dental Insurance

Dental coverage is available to all non-unit benefited employees, their spouses, and dependents up to age 26. Coverage is effective on the first of the month following 60 calendar days of employment. The premiums are as follows:

  • $22.80/month for individual coverage
  • $45.60/month for family coverage

To enroll for Dental Insurance, please complete the Dental Enrollment/Change Form.

The Dental benefits are provided through a group policy issued to the BHE Non-Unit Health & Welfare Fund by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife). Group Number is 105385.  For more information, go to: www.healthplansinc.com/bhe or call Health Plans, Inc. at 877-906-5939. 

Forms and Documentation

The Network

You may go to any dentist, however, to find a participating in-network dentist, please visit the MetLife Website, (enter company name: DHE Non-Unit).

Summary of Dental Benefits

Download the summary.

4.3 Basic and Optional Life Insurance
Life Insurance

Basic Life Insurance

All health insurance plans include $5,000 of basic life insurance. Coverage is also available to employees not enrolled in a health insurance plan. This term life and accidental death and dismemberment policy is provided at a cost of $1.58 per month.

Optional Life Insurance

Employees may also purchase optional life insurance in amounts up to 8 (eight) times their annual base salary. New hires may enroll in optional life insurance without proof of good health within 10 working days from their date of hire. Late enrollment is dependent on proof of good health.

Basic and Optional Life Insurance Overview

Includes Accidental Death & Dismemberment Rate per $1,000
Age Smoker Non-Smoker
Under 35 $0.10 $0.05
35-44 0.12 0.06
45-49 0.22 0.08
50-54 0.35 0.15
55-59 0.54 0.21
60-64 0.80 0.32
65-69 1.46 0.74
70 and over 2.58 1.17
4.4 Flexible Spending Program
Flexible Spending Program

Through the GIC's Health Care Spending Account (HCSA), administered by ASIFlex, active employees can pay for out-of-pocket health care expenses on a pre-tax basis. On average, state employees save $300 in federal and state taxes for every $1,000 contributed. The Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP), also administered by ASIFlex, allows state employees to pay for qualified dependent care expenses for a child under age 13 and/or an adult dependent - including day care, after-school programs, elder day care, and day camp - on a pretax basis.

Enrollment in both plans takes place during the spring open enrollment (April-May) for fiscal year benefits effective  July 1st - June 30th, with a 2.5 month grace period (October 15th). 

4.5 Long Term Disability
Long-Term Disability Insurance

Full and part-time employees are eligible to purchase long-term disability insurance, administered by Unum. Under this policy, if you are disabled for an extended period of time you will receive 55% of your basic monthly salary (tax free) up to a maximum monthly benefit. Benefits are reduced by other income sources, such as Social Security disability, Workers' Compensation, accumulated sick leave and retirement benefits, but the benefit will be at least $100 or 10% of your gross monthly benefit amount, whichever is greater.

Premiums are based on your age and current salary and the premium will be adjusted as your age and salary increase.

Information about Long Term Disability.

Or visit the Unum Website or call 1-877-226-8620.

Active Employee Age State Employee Pays Monthly (Per $100 of Monthly Earnings)
Under Age 25 $0.09
25-29 0.11
30-34 0.15
35-39 0.19
40-44 0.39
45-49 0.52
50-54 0.63
55-59 0.77
60-64 0.74
65-69 0.42
70 and over 0.24

Download LTD Summary Plan Description

4.6 Workers Compensation
Worker's Compensation

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Human Resources Division - Workers' Compensation Section is the worker's compensation insurer for all state employees. Eligibility for coverage begins immediately upon your employment with the University.

All work-related injuries, serious or otherwise, must be reported to your immediate supervisor and to Human Resources on the day they occur. The supervisor arranges for any immediate medical attention required. Within 48 hours of the injury, the supervisor and employee must complete, sign and forward to Human Resources the Notice of Injury Report.

Workers' Compensation insurance pays for medical expenses associated with job-related injuries and may also provide a weekly income if you are unable to work due to such an injury for five (5) days or more. If the employee is out of work for more than five (5) calendar days, the supervisor must complete and submit to Human Resources Form 101, Employer's First Report of Injury or Fatality.

The Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) is the agency responsible for administering the workers' compensation law in Massachusetts. For more information regarding Workers' Compensation, please visit: https://www.mass.gov/orgs/department-of-industrial-accidents

Forms and Documentation

Please return all forms to:

UMass Human Resources
Attn: Jacquie Kittler
333 South Street, Suite 400
Shrewsbury, MA 01545

4.7 Employee Assistance Program
Employee Assistance Programs


ComPsych is a provider of GuidanceResource services. Your GuidanceResources benefits will give you and your dependents confidential support, resources and information for personal and work-life issues.  These services are provided at no charge to employees of the President's Office.

Dealing with stress; preparing for retirement; finding a balance between your work and personal life. Sometimes it's the small things that are the most important-and the hardest to accomplish. If you could use help, information, or just a little encouragement, the ComPsych program can give you the support you need. Whether you're coping with a family problem or personal issue, trying to get out of debt, or just dealing with life's everyday ups and downs.  ComPsych can help you and your family with a wide range of issues, including:

  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for Confidential Counseling
  • Work-Life Solutions
  • Legal Support
  • Financial Information
  • GuidanceResources Online

GuidanceResources is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

These are two ways to access your GuidanceResource benefits:

  1. Call 844.393.4983.  You'll speak to a counseling professional who will listen to your concerns and can guide you to the appropriate services you require.
  2. Visit GuidanceResources Online at www.guidanceresources.com and enter your company ID: UMASS


State Employee Assistance Program

Access critical incident debriefing services at no cost. Managers and supervisors can also receive confidential supervisory training, resource recommendations, and customized seminars for dealing with work place issues.

Visit Website

4.8 Retirement

Membership in Massachusetts State Employee Retirement System (MSERS) is automatic and mandatory for all benefited full time employees or those working at least half-time with benefits. However, in lieu of MSERS, employees who are in a non-unit professional position also have the option of enrolling into an Optional Retirement Program (ORP) which is a defined contribution plan, administered by the Department of Higher Education. Upon hire, you will automatically be entered into MSERS during your 180 Election Period. If you then chose to enroll in the ORP, your monies will be rolled over from MSERS to the ORP plan. You can find the ORP enrollment instructions under the Optional Forms section below. Your selection of retirement plans, either membership in the State Employees’ Retirement System or participation in the Optional Retirement Program is irrevocable. Consequently, it is very important that you use the 180-day Election Period to learn about the features and benefits of both plans, and how well they match your personal financial and professional plans.

4.8.1 State Retirement Plans - MSERS, ORP, and OBRA
State Retirement Plans - MSERS, ORP, and OBRA

Massachusetts State Employee Retirement System (MSERS)

The Massachusetts State Employees Retirement System (MSERS) is a defined benefit plan in lieu of Social Security. Membership in MSERS is mandatory for all full time employees with benefits or those working at least half-time with benefits. New employees contribute 9% of gross salary, and 11% on salary over $30,000. These employee contributions are Federal tax-deferred. 1.45% is deducted for the Medicare portion of Social Security. State employees who entered state service before April 2, 2012 are eligible for a pension upon retirement at age 55 with 10 years of creditable service.  Those who entered state service after April 2, 2012 are eligible for a pension at age 60 with 10 years of creditable service.  State employees are eligible for a pension at any age with 20 years of creditable service.

Retirement Percentage Charts

Members can calculate their own retirement benefit estimate using the above Retirement Percentage Chart. Information on how benefits are calculated can be found in the MSERS Retirement Benefit Guide.

To estimate retirement benefits, go to the State Board of Retirement Calculator.
To determine your classification group, please go to M.G.L. c.32.

For further information regarding pension estimates, please call the Retirement Board at (617) 367-7770; 1-800-392-6014 (In MA Only)

Optional Retirement Program (ORP)

Professional benefitted employees have the option to contribute to an Optional Retirement Program which is administered by the Department of Higher Education. The ORP program is a defined contribution plan.

The Optional Retirement Program (ORP) is an alternative to the State Employees' Retirement System (MSERS) that provides flexible and portable pension benefits for Faculty and Professional Staff at the Commonwealth's public institutions of higher education.

To be eligible for the ORP Program:

  1. Participants must meet the minimum workload requirement:  The workload for eligibility is the standard "Chapter 32" definition: generally, 50% FTE. This is the same as the workload requirement for the State Employees' Retirement System (SERS).
  2. Participants must not be vested in SERS (fewer than ten Years of Creditable Service).

Tools to Help You Decide

Use the Comparison of Key Features between ORP and MSERS on the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education website.  Visit the GIC ORP Program page for more information.

Mandatory OBRA

Certain part-time, seasonal or temporary employees of the University are required to participate in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Deferred Compensation Plan ("OBRA Plan") as an alternative to the Old Age, Survivors and Disability Income portion of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act. The OBRA Plan is permitted by the federal Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. As an OBRA employee, you must contribute 7.5% of your gross compensation per pay period to the plan. These mandatory contributions must be invested in the income fund. You may also make additional voluntary contributions to the plan. Voluntary contributions may be invested in any of the plan's available investment options.

For information on the OBRA plan please contact your benefits office or call the Smart Plan at 877-457-1900 or visit http://www.mass-smart.com.

4.9 Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Affordable Care Act (ACA)

The documents below, frequently asked questions and answers, provide additional information about the 1095-C and the 1095-B to provide a better understanding of the forms and what to do if/when you receive one.


Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Individuals are required to report on their health insurance coverage when filing their tax returns.  To assist with this reporting requirement, large employers such as UMass are required to issue 1095 tax forms to certain employees, defined under the ACA as those regularly working 30 hours or more a week or 130 hours or more a month (ACA full time employees).  

UMass/Commonwealth employees that meet the definition of a full time employee under the ACA regulations will receive the below described 1095 tax forms for 2017. If you have worked in more than one Commonwealth department/agency (including UMass) during 2017 you will receive only one instance of each applicable form.

1)    Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage- This form will be sent from the Commonwealth and will contain important information for ACA full time employees, which indicates the status of the offer and coverage of employer provided health insurance in 2017.

2)    Form 1095-B, Health Coverage- This form will be sent from the Group Insurance Commission (GIC), or directly from the GIC Health Care Provider, and will contain information indicating that the employee had health insurance coverage considered Minimum Essential Coverage during the 2016 tax year. If you were not enrolled in a GIC health plan at any point during the year, you will not receive a 1095-B form from the GIC/Health Care Provider.

The 1095-C form uses a set of codes to determine what kind of coverage was offered and whether it was affordable.  The following are the codes generally used by the Commonwealth:

Box 14 Code Description Box 16 Code Description
1E Minimum essential coverage providing minimum value offered to you and minimum essential coverage offered to your dependent(s) and spouse. 2C

Employee enrolled in coverage offered

2H Section 4980H affordability rate of pay safe harbor.

No offer of coverage (you were NOT offered any health coverage or you were offered coverage that is NOT minimum essential coverage).

All months are populated including months prior to hire or after termination.

2A Employee Not Employed during the month
2B Employee not a full-time employee
2D Employee is a section 4980H(b) Limited   Non-Assessment Period.











For box 15, ACA requires that the value listed will be the Employee Share of Lowest Cost Monthly Premium, for Self-Only Minimum Value Coverage, and that amount is displayed from the plans offered to you, based on your home Zip Code, whether or not it was the plan you chose.

Part III of the 1095-C form will be blank for all employees.  Proof of Enrollment will be on separate form 1095-B issued by GIC or Health Care Provider.  

According to the IRS, the information on the 1095 forms may assist tax payers in preparing their 2017 tax return, but the forms are not required to file your return.  You can find more information about these IRS Forms and the filing of your 2017 Tax Return on the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/affordable-care-act/questions-and-answers-about-health-care-information-forms-for-individuals.

If you have questions about your 1095-C or believe you should have received one but did not, please email aca@umassp.edu or contact your campus HR office.   If you have questions regarding the 1095-B you may have received, please call the Group Insurance Commission at 617.727.2310 ext. 1.  However, if you were a member of the GIC’s Fallon Health, Health New England or Neighborhood Health Plans, you should call those plans directly with any questions.

Please note that the 1095 forms do not replace the MA 1099-HC, which has very similar information to that of the federal Form-1095-B, but is used for Massachusetts state taxes. You will still receive the MA 1099-HC form from your health insurance carrier and should contact them if you have questions about it.