Frequently Asked Questions

All FAQs

Are vaccines covered by my insurance?

Information about coverage of vaccine costs can be obtained by calling your insurance carrier’s customer service representatives.

Students who have paid the Columbia Health fee have no additional charges for certain vaccines. Check the Service Fees page for additional information.

If you are have not paid the Columbia Health fee, additional charges may apply to cover the actual cost of the specific vaccine.

Do I need the Columbia Student Medical Insurance Plan to access the services at CPS?

No. You do need to enroll in Columbia Health, which provides access to on-campus medical and mental health services. The Columbia Health Insurance is used to access any off- campus services and resources.

How do I confirm enrollment?

You may confirm your enrollment in the Gold level of the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan (Columbia Plan) or upgrade to the Platinum level online.

Coverage PeriodEnrollment Period
August 15 - August 14July 15 - Sept. 30
January 1 - August 14December 15 - Feb. 15
(New Spring Term students only)
June 1 - August 14May 15 - June 30
(New Summer Trimester students only)

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.

How do I request a waiver from the student insurance?

To request a waiver from the Columbia Plan, you must submit a request online before the deadline. You may be asked to  provide proof of your alternate coverage that meets all of the University’s waiver criteria.

Coverage PeriodWaiver Period
August 15 - August 14July 15 - Sept. 30
January 1 - August 14December 15 - February 15
(New Spring Term students only)
June 1 - August 14May 15 - June 30
(New Summer Trimester students only)

The enrollment/waiver 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.

Do I have to waive the insurance every year?

Yes, all full-time students are defaulted into the Gold level of the Columbia Plan each year. To request a waiver from default enrollment, you must submit a request online before the enrollment deadline. All waiver requests are considered but approval is not guaranteed.

Coverage PeriodWaiver Period
Sept. 1, 2014 - Aug. 14, 2015June 23, 2014 - Sept. 19, 2014
Jan. 20 - Aug. 14, 2015December 15, 2014 - Jan. 30, 2015
(New Spring Term students only)
May 18 - Aug. 14, 2015May 11, 2015 - June 12, 2015
(New Summer Trimester students only)

The enrollment/waiver 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.

Is it possible to enroll in the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan (Columbia Plan) without the Columbia Health Fee?

No, the services provided under the Columbia Health fee are 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 pay the Columbia Health fee. For detailed information about our 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 August 15 through August 14. The coverage is divided into the Fall Term (August 15 –  December 31) and the Spring Term (January 1 - August 14). 

Late requests for enrollment will be reviewed on an individual basis. For more information please contact the Insurance Office by email at studentinsurance@columbia.edu or by phone at (212) 854-3286.

Can I continue seeing my primary care physician outside of Columbia?

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.

Does the Columbia Plan offer dental insurance?

Select dental coverage is available through the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan only for accidental dental injury and for the removal of impacted wisdom teeth.

For students enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan, Morningside Dental Associates (MDA) offers one routine exam per year, including x-rays and cleaning, for a $20 copay under the Gold Plan or a $10 copay under the Platinum plan.

Students enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan may also obtain restorations (fillings, composites, crowns) and more detailed dental work from MDA for a 10% discount under the Gold Plan or a 25% discount under the Platinum plan.

Morningside Dental Associates has two locations:
1244 Amsterdam Avenue Tel. 212-961-1266 and 630 West 168th Street 212-305-4552

An optional dental insurance plan is available for purchase directly through Aetna Student Health. For detailed information on the optional Aetna Advantage™ Dental plan please view the Voluntary Plans.

I waived the Columbia Plan. Why is there still a Columbia Health fee on my statement?

The fee is mandatory for all full-time students and cannot be waived. Full-time students who waive the Columbia Plan are still required to pay the Columbia Health fee. For a description of the services related to the Columbia Health fee, please visit Columbia Health.

For graduate students in the following categories only, a waiver from participation in the Columbia Plan permits a waiver from the Columbia Health 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 fee by sending an email request to the Insurance Office at studentinsurance@columbia.edu

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Top Viewed FAQs

Is the meningococcal meningitis vaccine compulsory?

The meningococcal meningitis vaccine is optional. You are not required to submit documentation to our office. However, you are required to go online to SSOL to make an informed decision regarding the vaccine.

If you decide to be vaccinated against meningococcal meningitis, Medical Services at Columbia University offers the vaccine at no cost for students enrolled in the Columbia Health Program. You may schedule an appointment beginning the first week of classes by calling (212) 854-7426.
 

I have a copy of my immunization records; do I need to have my doctor complete the Columbia MMR form?

You may submit an official copy of your immunization history/labs in place of having your doctor complete the MMR form. Please be sure to include your full name, date of birth and UNI on your documentation.

Please also fill out the student section of the Columbia University Immunization form and send it along with your records.

Will I be notified if there is a problem with my record?

To ensure timely course registration, it is recommended that you submit your documentation at least 30 days prior to registering for classes. We strongly encourage you to contact your Columbia school or division to determine your registration date. You will be notified via your Columbia email only if you need to provide additional information.

How long will it take for my registration hold to be removed?

Immunization records are processed in order of receipt. At the start of the academic semester, it may take a few days for your documentation to be processed and for the hold to be removed. You should also check that you have properly completed the online meningococcal meningitis requirement.

How will I know that the hold has been removed?

All incoming students are placed on health hold prior to the start of the semester. If your documentation is complete, the hold will be removed and you will be permitted to register for classes. You may check your hold status by logging into your SSOL account.

If I am in the process of completing the vaccinations, will I be permitted to register before having the second dose?

Yes, once you have sent us proof of having received the 1st MMR dose, you will be able to register for classes. Since it is medically necessary that you wait for at least 28 days between MMR vaccines, you are granted temporary compliance for 28 days from the date on which the first dose was administered. You will become fully compliant only after having and submitting proof of the second dose.

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.

I am an international student and had my vaccinations administered at home. Is this acceptable?

Yes, you may submit your immunization record from your home country. Columbia Health will review your documentation to determine if it meets the New York State public health requirements. Please ensure that your form is completed properly and includes the day, month, year, and dose(s) administered as well as the medical provider’s name, and provider's signature.

Do I need a physical exam before attending Columbia?

A physical exam is not required. However, Columbia Health recommends that students receive all routine childhood vaccinations, an updated tetanus booster, and vaccinations for hepatitis B (three-dose series) and varicella (chicken pox) prior to enrollment.

Does Columbia offer the MMR vaccine or blood test?

If you are unable to locate your immunization documentation, you may receive the MMR vaccine or titer (blood) test at Columbia Health. Medical Services at Columbia Health offers the vaccine by appointment at no cost to new students. Appointments should be scheduled and completed at least 30 days prior to registering for classes. There are no additional risks associated with having the MMR if you are already immune to the illnesses.

The MMR titer (blood) test is offered on a walk-in basis if you wish to test your level of immunity. The test is offered at no cost for new students and should be completed at least 30 days prior to registering for classes. Please note the results may take up to 3-5 business days.

For advice on determining the best course of action, you may contact the Immunization Compliance Office at (212) 854-7210 or e-mail immunizationcompliance@columbia.edu.

Otherwise, you may schedule your vaccine appointment by calling (212) 854‐7426 or visit Medical Services during the hours of operation to have the blood test.

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Last updated July 31, 2015