Loss of Health Insurance

Joining the Columbia Plan

Students involuntarily losing their insurance coverage provided through a non-Columbia plan may petition for enrollment in The Columbia Plan by submitting a Petition Form through the Patient Portal (instructions).

If enrollment in The Columbia Plan was waived for the fall term, the waiver will automatically be extended to the spring term unless a significant life change occurs that warrants enrollment. Examples of a significant life change are:

  • Termination of insurance coverage under a partner’s or employer’s benefit plan
  • Surpassing the maximum age for coverage as a dependent under a parent's plan

Late requests for enrollment will be reviewed upon receipt of documentation of such a change. Students have 60 days from the life change event to file a Petition to Enroll with the Student Insurance Office. Students must contact the office by email to obtain the form; studentinsurance@columbia.edu.

Students at Jewish Theological Seminary, Teachers CollegeUnion Theological Seminary, and Columbia University Medical Center must follow their schools' procedures.

Other Coverage Options

Graduating or departing students can pursue health insurance options through employers, state-based health care exchanges, and individual plans directly offered by insurance companies.  Columbia does not endorse and has not verified the coverage offered by employers, state-based health care exchanges, or individual plans directly offered by insurance companies. Individuals are encouraged to carefully review all details of any insurance plan before making a selection.

Employer Plans

Most people in the US get their health insurance via an employer-sponsored plan.  If you are eligible, or will become eligible, this may be your best option as most employers cover a part or most of the cost of health insurance premiums. When conducting a job search be sure to look at the insurance plan offerings in addition to salary and other benefits available from a prospective employer.

Exchange Plans

New York offers a robust health care exchange offering medical, dental, and vision plans.  Most people who are unsure of employment potential in the near term or unemployed may find the exchange options the most appropriate. Obtaining insurance through the exchange offers the individual choice over plan options. Premiums are income-based and subsidies to help offset costs may be available.  For many, exchange plans are the lowest cost option to obtain health insurance.  Online: https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov/

If you are not in New York you can find exchange plan options by visiting https://www.healthcare.gov/.

Parent/Guardian Plans

If you are under the age of 26 you may be eligible for coverage under a parent or guardian plan.  Consider if this option might work for you and your family, though be sure to consider how long you might able to stay on the plan.  If you will turn 26 before the end of 2020 this may not be the best option, as you might have to change plans more than once in the next few months.