GEO Eligibility

2020-21 Open Enrollment Periods

There are 5 open enrollment periods per year (you only need to apply during one of these periods annually:

  • Aug 15 - Sept 15

  • Nov 1 - Nov 15

  • Feb 1 - Feb 15

  • April 1 - April 15

  • June 15 - June 30

Open enrollment periods are the only times during the year when we process new applications and changes to existing applications.

Earnings Requirement

To be eligible for 2020-21 Trust Fund benefits, you must be an enrolled graduate student (program fee is ok) at UMass Amherst and be working in a GEO-eligible position earning at least $5762.70* between 5/24/20 & 5/29/21.  Trust Fund benefits are for 12 months (9/1-8/31 of each year) and include dental, vision, the wellness reimbursement and the childcare 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 $5762.70, 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: The same guidelines apply.  However, coverage starts with your first official day as a student (the first day of the spring semester) and continues through August 31, 2021.


How summer earnings are counted: 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 commence June 1, 2020, these will count toward your eligibility for benefits starting September 1, 2020.


How University Without Walls courses count: Teaching (1) 3-credit UWW course is equivalent to earning $5762.70 for the purposes of Trust Fund benefits.** These requirements differ from those of your student health plan.

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

**Minimums are subject to change when stipends increase.

Former Eligible Employees

If you graduate, you will lose your eligibility 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.

^During 2020, we are transitioning from a 10/1-9/30 plan year to a 9/1-8/31 plan year. For those who graduate in 2020 or who will otherwise loss eligibility at the end of the 2019-20 plan year. your coverage will end as anticipated on 9/30 so that you do not experience a benefit loss due to the plan year date change.