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GEO Eligibility & Open Enrollment

Earnings Requirement for Working Graduate Employees

To be eligible for 2023-24 Trust Fund benefits, you must be an enrolled graduate student at UMass Amherst AND be working in a GEO-eligible position earning at least $6205.40* between May 28, 2023 and May 25, 2024.  Trust Fund benefits are for 12 months (9/1-8/31) and include dental, vision, the GEO wellness reimbursement, and the GEO child care reimbursement. Please refer to Assistantship Earnings Requirements published by the Graduate Assistantship Office for more information. 

Spring-only eligibility: If your earnings occur only in the spring semester, but will total at least $6205.40, you are eligible to enroll in the plans for September 1 coverage.  However, your enrollment application must be accompanied by a copy of your fully-signed employment contract or letter of appointment.

Spring-entering grad students: If your earnings will total at least $6205.40, you are eligible to enroll. However, coverage starts with your first official day as a student (the first day of the spring semester) and continues through August 31, 2023.  Additionally, your enrollment application must be accompanied by a copy of your fully-signed employment contract or letter of appointment.  


Summer earnings: Summer earnings in a GEO-eligible position count "forward" toward your eligibility for the next plan year that starts in September.  If your only earnings during an academic year occur in the summer, this will not make you eligible for coverage during the concurrent summer months.  For example, if your only GEO-eligible earnings commenced June 1, 2023, these will count toward your eligibility for benefits starting September 1, 2023.


Eligibility Based on Teaching University Without Walls courses: Teaching (1) 3-credit UWW course is equivalent to earning $6205.40 for the purposes of Trust Fund benefits.**

Eligibility for Prestigious Graduate Fellows (Previously "Non-Working" Fellows): There is an agreement in place between the University and GEO/UAW Local 2322 making certain fellowship recipients eligible for Trust Fund benefits. The agreement states: "The agreement incorporates graduate students who are awarded prestigious external fellowships into the bargaining unit to ensure they maintain full benefits while being funded from an external source. Fellowships must be at least $6205 [or equivalent to a 10-hour semester appointment] to qualify. Certain terms of the agreement, such as Appointment & Reappointment, Job Security, Vacation, and Additional Time Off do not apply." To see if your fellowship makes you eligible, check the Graduate School's information page.


Click here to read the full GEO contract.

* These earnings requirements and dates differ from those of your student health plan

**Minimums are subject to change when stipends increase.

Former Graduate Employees

If you graduate, you will lose your eligibility for Trust Fund benefits at the end of the plan year in which you graduate on August 31.


If you withdraw as a student from the University, fail to be enrolled as a student, or terminate your employment prior to earning the minimum earnings required above, you will lose your eligibility thirty (30) days after the aforementioned event occurs.


If you lose your eligibility, you have the option of continuing your coverage for up to 18 months by paying 102% of your monthly premium, per the federal COBRA legislation. Click here to learn more about COBRA.

2023-24 Open Enrollment Periods

There are 6 open enrollment periods per year. You only need to apply during one of these periods annually:

  • Aug 15 - Sept 15

  • Oct 15 - Oct 31

  • Nov 15 - Nov 30

  • Jan 15 -Jan 31

  • March 15 - March 31

  • May 15 - May 31

Open enrollment periods are the only times during the year when we process new applications and changes to existing applications. Use our Enrollment Portal to get started (repoens 8/15).

Still have questions?

We're here to help! Send us a message or schedule a help session with our team.

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