Summary of Employee Benefits

Comm of Mass Group Insurance Commission

Health Insurance

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission (GIC) administers both health insurance and other benefits for eligible state employees, dependents and retirees. Employees can find helpful information about benefit options on the GIC website at Health insurance benefits begin on the first of the month following 60 days from the date of hire, or two calendar months, whichever comes first.

The Group Insurance Commission  (GIC) offers the choice of 11 different health insurance plans, life insurance, long-term disability coverage, and flexible spending account options to Salem State’s benefit-eligible employees.  Health insurance elections can be made at the time of hire and may be changed during the annual enrollment period. 

GIC health plan options:

Fallon Health Direct Care HMO

Fallon Health Select Care HMO

Harvard Pilgrim Independence Plan POS

Harvard Pilgrim Primary Choice Plan HMO                                                        

Health New England

Neighborhood Health Plan HMO

Tufts Plan Navigator POS

Tufts Health Plan Spirit EPO

UniCare State Indemnity Plan/Basic Indemnity

UniCare State Indemnity Plan/Community Choice

UniCare State Indemnity Plan/PLUS PPO-Type 

Want to compare the benefits of each provider?  Check out the GIC’s Benefit Decision Guide for a summary of plan options.


Important note for new/prospective employees

Health insurance coverage begins approximately 60 days following your hire date. Salem State’s benefits coordinator can work with new employees to identify coverage options prior to the onset of GIC coverage, if necessary.


Dental Insurance

Dental insurance is provided to benefit eligible employees and their qualified dependents. Dental coverage is determined by your employee category.

MetLife Dental/Vision Savings (APA/MSCA/Non-Unit employees)

MPE Fund Dental/Vision (AFSCME)

Retirement Plans

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires that all employees enroll in a qualified retirement plan. Retirement programs for state employees fall under either the State Employees’ Retirement System (MSERS) or the Department of Higher Education Optional Retirement Plan (ORP), an option for benefitted faculty, librarians and administrators. Membership in the State Employee Retirement System (a defined benefit plan) is mandatory for nearly all state employees who are regularly employed at least 50 percent of full-time hours. Benefitted faculty, librarians and administrators have the option to enroll in the Department of Higher Education Optional Retirement Program (a defined contribution plan). Part-time, seasonal or temporary employees of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are required to participate in an Alternate Retirement Plan (OBRA) through the SMART Plan. This plan is an alternative to Social Security as permitted by the federal Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 (OBRA). 

Massachusetts state employees do not have Social Security taxes withheld from their earnings. Employees retiring from the commonwealth, who are eligible for Social Security benefits, may have their Social Security benefits reduced by Social Security’s windfall elimination provision or government pension offset. Please contact your local Social Security Office if you have questions regarding this information.

State Board of Retirement (All benefited employees)

Optional Retirement Program (All benefited employees except Unit and Non-Unit Classified)

Supplemental Investment Options

Employees have the option to participate in voluntary Tax Deferred Savings Plans such as 403b or 457b accounts. There are various plans from which to choose.

Massachusetts Deferred Compensation SMART Plan

Commonwealth Tax-Deferred Savings Plan Summary (PDF)

Differences between the 457(b) and 403(b) Plans and contributing to both

Flexible Spending Accounts

As part of the benefits offered through the Group Insurance Commission (GIC), employees have the opportunity to participate in a Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) and/or the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP). Flexible spending benefits are administered by ASIFlex. To learn more about the benefits of enrolling in a flexible spending program as a state employee please visit the following link:

Leave Benefits

Benefitted employees are entitled to paid and unpaid leave benefits and leave accruals in accordance with the respective collective bargaining agreements.

Tuition Benefits

Benefitted employees are eligible for tuition benefits in accordance with their respective collective bargaining agreements or Department of Higher Education policy. Employees and dependents are eligible after six months of employment.