Employee Benefits

2013 Benefits Open Enrollment

Annual Enrollment is April 10 - May 8, 2013 for changes effective July 1, 2013.

Annual enrollment time is here, giving you the opportunity to review your benefit options and choose a new health plan or make other benefit changes if you desire. If you want to keep your current Group Insurance Commission (GIC) health plan, you do not need to fill out any paperwork. See your GIC Benefit Decision Guide and attend a GIC Health Fair to find out about your options for the 2013 Benefits Open Enrollment. 

This year the GIC will be holding a special open enrollment for Long Term Disability (LTD) from April 10 to an extended end date of June 14 for coverage effective October 1, 2013. This is a great opportunity for employees to protect themselves and their families in the event they become ill, injured or disabled. There will be no medical requirements as long as the employee has not been declined for LTD coverage in the past and uses the special open enrollment form.

On-Site Benefits Fair

In addition to the GIC Health Fairs, which are held at various locations throughout the Commonwealth, UMass Lowell will offer a Benefits Fair at each campus during mid-April. Below are a list of the dates and locations. 
  • Wednesday, April 17 - East Campus, Wannalancit Mills – Room 305,  10 a.m.–Noon
  • Monday, April 22 - North Campus – Cumnock Hall,  3-5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 23 – South Campus – new Health & Social Sciences Building, Noon–2:30 p.m.
Paid-Release Time

Employees will be permitted up to two hours of paid release time in order to attend one of the on-site UMass Lowell Benefits Fairs. 

Benefits Fair Event Information

Human Resources/Benefits staff will be available at the Benefits Fair to answer your questions and to provide important information to help you in making benefit enrollment decisions. If you are looking to meet directly with one of the representatives from the insurance carrier or the State Board, you will also need to plan to attend an off-site GIC Health Fair.

Participating benefit providers include the investment companies to which employees can direct savings in the Optional and Voluntary Retirement Plans. The theme of the Fair is Health and Wellness. Therefore, we have also invited several UMass Lowell colleagues and departments whose services and/or research focus on health, wellness and safety, as well as several other benefit and service providers who will have lots of information available - to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle both at work and in your personal lives!

Additional Information:

During annual enrollment, if eligible, you may:
  • Enroll in or change health plans – rates will be increased 3.5% effective July 1, 2013
  • Apply for the buy-out option 
  • Apply for Long Term Disability (LTD)
  • Apply for optional life insurance or increase coverage – you may also do this anytime during the year
  • Apply for reduced non-smoker optional life insurance rates if you have optional life insurance as a smoker and have been tobacco-free for at least 12 months
  • Opt in or out of pre-tax premium basic life and health insurance deductions
Be sure to read your GIC Annual Enrollment Letter (pdf) and GIC Benefit Decision Guide to become familiar with benefit and rate changes that become effective July 1, 2013.  

Do your homework during annual enrollment, even if you don’t plan to make any changes:
  • Identify which plan(s) you are eligible to join and review their benefit summaries – see the Benefit Decision Guide and the GIC’s website for details.
  • Consider enrolling in a limited network plan to save money every month on your premiums. These plans have the same benefits as the wider network plans, but save money because they have a smaller network of providers (not every doctor and hospital).
  • Contact the plans to find out if your doctors and hospitals participate in the plan. Specify the plan’s full name, such as “Harvard Pilgrim Primary Choice Plan” or “Harvard Pilgrim Independence Plan,” not just Harvard Pilgrim.
  • Check on copay tier assignments that affect what you pay when you get physician or hospital services. Copay tiers can change each July 1.
Your Benefit Decision Guide is an overview of GIC benefits; it is not a comprehensive plan handbook. There may be other services that you or your family need.  Contact each plan to find out details about those benefits. Keep in mind: Once you choose a health plan, you cannot change plans until the next annual enrollment, even if your doctor or hospital leaves the health plan, unless you move out of your health plan’s service area.

See the GIC’s website for the latest annual enrollment news, forms to expedite your decisions and answers to frequently asked questions.
Mark the Date! Enrollment forms are due to the UMass Lowell Benefits Office no later than Wednesday, May 8, 2013 (and Friday, June 14, for Long Term Disability only).  Please call us at 978-934-4100 or email us at benefits@uml.edu if you have any questions.