Frequently Asked QuestionsInsurance
You may confirm your enrollment in the Basic level of the Columbia Student Medical Insurance Plan (Columbia Plan) or upgrade to Comprehensive level online before September 30 for Fall Term students, February 1 for new incoming Spring Term students, or June 14 for new full-time Summer Trimester students.
To request a waiver from the Columbia Plan, you must submit a request online before September 30 for Fall Term students (February 1 for new incoming Spring Term students or June 14 for full-time Summer Trimester students) and provide proof of your alternate coverage that meets certain waiver criteria.
The enrollment decision made for the Fall Term carries forward to the Spring Term if you remain a registered student. Once you’ve made your selection, you cannot change that selection during that plan year.
Yes, all full-time students are automatically enrolled in the Basic level of the Columbia Plan each year, because students’ alternative coverage often changes. To request a waiver from automatic enrollment, you must submit a request on the Columbia Health website before September 30 for Fall Term students, February 1 for new incoming Spring Term students, or June 14 for new full-time Summer Trimester students. All requests are considered but approval is not guaranteed.
No, the Columbia Health Program is designed to complement the Columbia Plan. The program provides extensive on- and off-campus health care and services. Students enrolled in the Columbia Plan must also participate in the Columbia Health Program. For detailed information about our programs and services, please visit the Services section of this site.
What are the effective dates of coverage?
The Columbia Plan covers a full academic year of care from September 1 through August 31. The coverage is divided into the Fall Term (September 1 – mid January) and the Spring Term (mid January - August 31). Late requests for enrollment will be reviewed on an individual basis (for more information please see the detailed plan brochure).
No, students are assigned a Primary Care Provider (PCP) on campus who will coordinate their care. Visits to off-campus primary care providers are not reimbursed by the Columbia Plan. For more information about the plan’s benefits and services, please view the General Policy Provisions of the Columbia Plan.
No, only dental and vision discounts are available to students enrolled in the Columbia Plan. For complete details of dental coverage options, including the optional Aetna Advantage™ Dental plan please view the Voluntary Plans.
This fee is mandatory for all full-time students and may not be waived. Full-time students who waive the Columbia Plan are still required to pay the Columbia Health Program fee. For a description of the policies and services related to the Columbia Health Program fee, please review more information about Columbia Health Program.
For graduate students in the following categories only, a waiver from participation in the Columbia Plan permits a waiver from the Columbia Health Program fee:
- Registering solely to defend a dissertation
- Registering solely for Matriculation and Facilities (M&F), Extended Residence (ER), or MFA Research
- Registering solely for the Journalism full-time research or full-time special research programs
Graduate students in these categories who successfully waive the insurance requirement may also request a waiver from the Columbia Health Program fee. This Columbia Health Program fee waiver is requested through the Columbia Health Insurance Office.
When will I receive my insurance card?
After students have registered for classes and entered an online selection, the insurance plan identification cards are usually mailed within 14 days.
If you do not actively enroll in the plan your card will usually be issued the third week of October for Fall Term students (the third week of February for Spring Term students or the first week of July for Summer Trimester students).
To ensure that your Plan ID card will be issued in a timely manner, go to Student Services Online (SSOL) to enter your local address. Please note that Aetna Student Health, the underwriter for the Columbia Plan, will not mail cards to addresses outside the United States. If you do not receive your card within this time you may order another card by selecting the Aetna Navigator option on the Aetna Student Health website or you can call Customer Service at (800) 859-8471.
Yes, part-time students are eligible to enroll in either the Basic or Comprehensive level of the Columbia Plan. Part-time students must confirm their enrollment selection at Student Services Online (SSOL) before September 30 for Fall Term students, February 1 for new incoming Spring Term students, or June 14 for Summer Trimester students. Enrolling in the plan will automatically initiate enrollment in the Columbia Health Program.
A referral from Medical Services or Counseling and Psychological Services is required for most off-campus services except in emergencies. Services rendered without an appropriate referral will not be covered under the Columbia Plan. In the event of an urgent medical need when Columbia Health is closed, you must contact the clinician-on-call at (212) 854-9797 for medical advice or to obtain a referral if indicated. Care in emergency rooms and Urgent Care Centers are excluded from this requirement.
Referrals for medical conditions will terminate on the last day of each plan year on August 31. Referrals for mental health conditions for off-campus counseling are valid as long as students remain continuously insured by the student plan. Even with a referral you will be responsible for a copay and possible additional charges when seeing an off campus consulting provider.
Effective September 1, 2013, Medical and mental health care obtained 50 miles or more away from Columbia Health, on the Morningside campus, no longer require a referral in advance of service.
Verification of enrollment in the Columbia Plan can be obtained by calling Aetna Student Health at (800) 859-8471.
I'm a student enrolled at Teachers College, Jewish Theological Seminary, Union Theological Seminary, or the Mailman School of Public Health. Where can I find information regarding insurance and immunization requirements?
Students at TC, JTS, UTS and Mailman must follow their schools’ procedures. Please contact the appropriate school directly.
Yes, new incoming students may be eligible for the Early Arrival Plan offered by Aetna Student Health which is available for 1 month (August 1-31) or 2 months (July 1 – August 31). The plan is available to students who plan on enrolling in the Columbia Plan for the full year. Please note the Early Arrival Plan is only available at the Basic level of the Columbia Plan. Please contact Aetna Student Health to enroll in the plan. Plan ID cards are not issued for the Early Arrival Plan.
An optional Continuation Plan is available for students who were enrolled in the Columbia Plan during their last term of study. Applications for the Continuation Plan are available at Aetna Student Health.
Aetna Student Health must receive applications and payment for the full premium no later than 45 days after the insurance termination of coverage under the Columbia Plan. The maximum length of coverage under the Continuation Plan for the 2013-14 Plan Year is seven and a half (7 1/2) consecutive months for February graduates and nine (9) months for May graduates.
If you have an accident or illness while traveling outside of the United States you should contact On Call International at (603) 328-1956 to coordinate services. On Call is a travel assistance program. Reimbursement for medically necessary care is managed by Aetna Student Health.
The Columbia Plan does not require claims forms. You should forward the original receipts/bills and a copy of your insurance card within 90 days of the date of treatment to:
Aetna Student Health
P.O. Box 981106
El Paso, TX 79998
Be sure to keep copies for your records.
If a student qualifies for an approved medical leave of absence within 30 days of the start of the semester, charges on his or her Student Account Statement for the Columbia Health Program fee and Columbia Plan premium will be reversed. Those who wish to maintain insurance coverage must first obtain a letter from the appropriate Dean indicating that they are on an approved medical leave of absence. The student must then contact the Columbia Health Insurance Office at (212) 854-3286 or by email at email@example.com and provide two separate payments: one for the Columbia Health Program fee and one for the Columbia Plan premium.
Students who withdraw from classes due to an approved medical leave of absence more than 30 days after the start of the semester will continue to be covered under the Columbia Plan for the remainder of that semester only. In order to continue coverage for the next semester, students will need to proceed as described above.
Students on non-medical leaves of absence are not eligible to enroll in the Columbia Plan.
Please contact the Columbia Health Insurance Office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Students enrolled in the Columbia Plan may also choose to insure their eligible dependents. A version of the Basic level of the plan is available for eligible dependents. For more information, please review the Dependent Coverage.