Enroll / Waive Student Health Insurance

Enroll

Each academic year, all registered full-time students must enter their choice online to confirm enrollment in the Gold level of the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan (Columbia Plan), upgrade to the Platinum level, or request a waiver from enrollment in the Columbia Plan (domestic students only).

Part-time domestic students may request enrollment in either level of the Columbia Plan online.

All international students must request enrollment in either level of the Columbia Plan online.

Students at Columbia’s affiliates (Jewish Theological Seminary, Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University Medical Center) must follow their school’s procedures.

For more detailed instructions, visit the Students section below.

The Columbia Plan covers an academic year from August 15 – August 14 (contingent on registration).

Coverage PeriodHow to EnrollDeadline
Aug. 15, 2016 - Aug. 14, 2017
Sept. 30, 2016
Jan. 1 - Aug. 14, 2017N/AFeb. 15, 2017
(New Spring Term students only)
May 15 - Aug. 14, 2017N/AJune 15, 2017
(New Summer students only)

*Note that activation of coverage is contingent on students being eligible, registered, charged tuition, and having requested enrollment in the student health insurance plan.

  • If you enroll during the Fall Term and continue as a registered student in the Spring Term, coverage becomes effective at 12:00 a.m. on August 15, 2016 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on August 14, 2017.
  • If you complete your academic program in December in anticipation of a February graduation, you will have coverage through 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2016.
  • If you are an October 2016 graduate, coverage eligibility ended on August 14, 2016.
  • For all students enrolling in their first term of classes for the Spring Term, coverage becomes effective at 12:00 a.m. on January 1, 2017 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on August 14, 2017.

For students who entered school in the Fall term, but have not actively enrolled in the Columbia Plan, the coverage period begins August 15, 2016 through August 14, 2017. However, all expenses for covered prescriptions filled before September 30 may need to be submitted to Aetna Pharmacy Management for reimbursement. For more information, please see the prescription claim form.

Once the student’s insurance coverage decision has been determined for the Fall term, that decision will automatically be continued in the following Spring term as long as the student remains registered at the University. It is not possible to change the level of coverage in the Spring term or after the open enrollment period has ended

Coverage premiums are for the Morningside campus Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan, student rates only.

Waive

Domestic students requesting a waiver from default enrollment in the Gold level of the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan must request a waiver online each plan year before the deadline. Students may be asked to provide documentation of alternate coverage under a comparable insurance plan which must meet all of the University's required criteria. All requests are considered on a case by case basis but approval is not guaranteed.

Deadline to Request a Waiver
 
TermHow to Request a WaiverDeadline
Fall
September 30, 2016
Spring
(new students only)
N/AFeb. 15, 2017
(New Spring Term students only)
Summer
(new students only)
N/AJune 15, 2017
(New Summer students only)

Criteria for Comparable Insurance Plan

All full-time domestic students and all international students are default enrolled in the Gold level of the Columbia Plan. Domestic full-time students can request a waiver from enrollment by submitting a request online before the published deadline. All requests are considered but approval is not guaranteed.  International students are not permitted to waive the Columbia Plan unless covered by a US-based, ACA Compliant, employer-sponsored plan that meets all of the waiver criteria below.

Please review your alternate coverage to determine whether it meets all of the following criteria:

  1. The plan must meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) including coverage for routine, urgent, and emergent care for all Essential Benefits in New York State. For a description of the ACA Essential Benefits please see our Compare Your Coverage tool.
  2. The plan must be effective, and remain in force, for the duration of the following schedule:

New Students

  • New Fall Admits, August 15, 2016 – August 14, 2017
  • New Spring Admits, January 1, 2017  - August 14, 2017
  • New Summer Admits, May 15, 2017 – August 14, 2017

Continuing Students

  • August 15, 2016 – August 14, 2017

Graduating Students

  • August 15, 2016 –last day of the month in the last academic term in which you are a registered student
  1. The plan must be licensed to do business in the United States.

Medicaid Waiver Requests

Any domestic student with active Medicaid coverage may request a waiver of the University’s insurance requirement. Waiver requests from students with New York State Medicaid will generally be approved. Requests from students with Medicaid coverage from outside New York State are typically denied as these plans may not provide coverage outside of their state of residence. All waiver requests are submitted online and evaluated on an individual basis.

When making their waiver decisions, all Medicaid-covered students should consider the gaps in coverage they may experience while attending the University; for instance, travel abroad or anywhere outside their home state.

New York State Medicaid-covered students may not be covered while outside of the state. In addition, referral options for students on Medicaid needing specialist’s care off-campus may be limited.

Students with Medicaid who are interested in the student insurance plan may wish to address concerns about cost with their school’s financial aid office.

Financial Responsibility

Student’s policy coverage must meet the waiver requirements outlined by Columbia University. Exchange plans that do not meet these criteria are not considered adequate coverage and will not be accepted.

These requirements are established to minimize a student’s risk of incurring exorbitant medical costs.

Students accept full financial responsibility for hospital, laboratory, physician, diagnostic testing and other medical costs not covered by their insurance.

Charges on Your Student Account Statement

A charge for the Fall term of the Gold level of the Plan may appear on your first Student Account Statement, even if you request a waiver. These charges will be removed if the request is approved within 10 business days of submitting your request.

Considering an Alternate Health Plan

Health insurance benefits can vary from plan to plan. As domestic students consider either using the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan or enrolling in a alternate insurance plan, here are a few points to consider before deciding on an insurance plan:

  1. Does the alternate insurance plan meet Columbia University’s criteria for comparable insurance coverage?
  2. Will you age out of an insurance plan carried by parents or legal guardians?
  3. If you plan to extend coverage provided through a previous employer, such as COBRA, what are the costs involved? Compare these with the premiums for the Columbia Plan.

If you are unsure about how an alternate plan compares to the Columbia Plan, contact the insurance carrier for details about available benefits, including access to in-network providers in New York City, cost of in-/out-network providers, cost of lab examinations, prescription medication benefits, and any other frequently used health benefits. Use our helpful guide to compare.

Why the Columbia Plan?

The Columbia Plan provides coverage for a broad range of healthcare needs, both while students are in the United States and abroad:

  • benefits are designed to complement the services available on-campus
  • an on-campus clinician serves as your primary care provider
  • access to services is streamlined and paperwork is limited
  • students pay a copay for visits with consulting providers off-campus (when referred by an on-campus clinician) and for prescription medications
  • the Columbia Plan offers access to the nationwide Aetna network of specialists, representing clinicians in most areas of medical specialty. This can be of particular benefit while traveling or living away from campus
  • benefits are included for emergency assistance while traveling outside the United States
  • the Columbia Plan covers an academic year, starting August 15, 2016 and ending August 14, 2017

It is important to know that the Columbia Plan meets and exceeds the requirements for the following:

  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • U.S. Department of State Exchange Visitor Program for International Students & Scholars
  • ACA (Affordable Care Act)
  • NYS Department of Insurance

Students

Full-time Students

All registered full-time students are enrolled in the Gold level of the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan if no valid waiver request is submitted and approved. Full-time students must confirm their insurance selection each year by actively enrolling in the Gold level or Platinum level of the Columbia Plan or by requesting a waiver (domestic students only) from enrollment in the Columbia Plan and demonstrating coverage under another comparable policy.

Enrollment in the Columbia Plan is effective only upon the student’s academic registration and tution billing for the term for which coverage will be active.

Once the student’s insurance coverage decision has been determined for the fall term, that decision will automatically be continued in the following spring term as long as the student remains registered at the University. It is not possible to change the level of coverage in the spring term or after the open enrollment period has ended.

Part-time Students

Part-time students are encouraged to enroll in the Columbia Plan. Enrolling in the Columbia Plan also requires payment of the Columbia Health Fee which provides access to the services provided though Columbia Health.

Funded Graduate Students

Funded graduate students should contact their departmental administrator, Financial Aid Office, or Fellowship Office for information about whether their school provides funding to cover any portion of the Columbia Plan premium for the student and eligible dependents.

Study-Abroad Students

Students expecting to participate in any Study Abroad program should consult with an Insurance Specialist at Columbia Health about the type of insurance coverage they will need while traveling.

International Students

Columbia University requires that all international students enroll in the Student Insurance Plan.

Student Veterans

Student veterans may be eligible for health care benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for illnesses and injuries related to their service. Columbia Health recommends that Columbia student-veterans confirm their status with the VA and, if necessary, complete the VA paperwork needed to receive benefits in the New York City area.  All students will be default enrolled into this plan unless a waiver request is submitted and approved by the waiver request deadline. For additional information about health care coverage for Columbia student-veterans, please visit the Columbia University Veteran Affairs website.

Important Dates

Important Dates
DateNotice
July 15 - September 30Open enrollment period for the Columbia Plan.
August 14Columbia Plan terminates for Spring/Summer enrollees.
August 15Access to Columbia Health for the new academic year begins.
 Columbia Student Insurance Plan Fall term begins.
 Pharmacy benefits become available with a copay only if an insurance selection has been recorded and the student has registered and been charged tution for classes.
September 30Deadline for enrolling in the Columbia Plan. Students who have taken no action by this date will be default enrolled into the Gold level of the Plan for the entire academic year.
December 31Columbia Student Insurance Plan Fall term ends.
January 1Columbia Student Insurance Plan Spring terms begins.
February 15Deadline for enrolling in the Columbia Student Insurance Plan for new Spring students only. Students who have taken no action by this date will be default enrolled into the Gold level of the Plan through 8/14.
May 15Access to Columbia Health Services for new entering summer students begins for the coverage period - 5/15 - 8/14.
 Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan for new entering summer students begins for coverage period 5/15 - 8/14.
 Pharmacy benefits become available with a copay only if an insurance selection has been recorded and the student has registered and been charged tution for classes.
June 15Deadline for enrolling in the Columbia Plan for new entering summer students only. Full-time Summer Trimester students who have taken no action by this date will be default enrolled into the Gold level of the Plan for the coverage period 5/15 - 8/14.

Summer

Summer - Enroll

New summer trimester full-time students must enter their choice online to confirm enrollment in the Gold level of the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan (Columbia Plan), upgrade to the Platinum level, or request a waiver from default enrollment in the Columbia Plan.

All other newly admited students taking summer classes may also request enrollment in the Columbia Plan online.

Coverage premiums are for the Morningside campus Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan, student rates only.

Summer - Waive

To request a waiver from default enrollment in the Gold level of the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan, domestic students must request a waiver online before the following deadline. All requests are considered but approval is not guaranteed. International students are not permited to waive enrollment in the Colubmia Plan.

Deadline to Request a Waiver
 
TermHow to Request a WaiverDeadline
Summer
(new trimester students only)
N/AJune 15, 2017

 

Last updated July 07, 2016