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Insurance and Immunization Records
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Insurance and Immunization Records

Office of Student Affairs

FAQs

FAQs

Immunizations FAQs


Who has to submit immunization documentation?

Teachers College, as mandated by New York State Public Health Law, requires that students born on or after January 1, 1957 provide proof of immunity to Measles, Mumps, and Rubella before initial registration. All students are also required to document a decision regarding the meningococcal meningitis vaccine. Failure to comply with the requirements will result in a hold on the student's record and will prevent students from registering for the following semester.

Do you provide responses to individualized questions?

Yes, you may e-mail your questions to health-immunization@tc.edu. We usually respond within 1-2 business days.

How will I be notified of my immunization compliance?

Immunization documentation is processed in the order in which it is received. An email will be sent once your documentation has been reviewed. You will be advised if you need to provide additional information, inoculations, or if you are fully compliant. You can also check your compliance status in the Admitted Student Website upon logging-in.

How do I submit my immunization documentation?

Completed forms may be submitted in the following ways:

By e-mail: You may send a scanned copy of your immunization documentation to health-immunization@tc.edu.
By mail:
Insurance and Immunization Records Office
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 308
525 West 120th Street
New York, NY 10027-6696
By fax:
If you fax your documentation, please make sure to include your full name, date of birth, and  TC ID Number. Forms cannot be processed without this information. Our fax number is: (212) 678-3681
In person:
Drop off your immunization documentation at the Office of Insurance and Immunization Records located in Thorndike Hall, Room 159. The office is open Monday - Thursday, 9:00 am - 6:00 pm and Fridays from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm . During summer months, our office closes at 5:00pm (Mon-Thurs) and 3:00 pm on Fridays.

NOTE: Please keep a copy of your immunization documents for your records.

What is needed to complete the immunization requirement?

Proof of MMR immunity may be demonstrated by any of the following ways:

  1. Documentation of two doses of measles vaccine (the first dose administered after first birthday, and second dose at least 28 days after first dose), one dose of mumps (administered after first birthday), and one dose of rubella vaccine (administered after first birthday). Paperwork must show complete date of vaccine administration, including day, month, and year.

    THE MMR COMBINED VACCINATION (know as an MMR booster) FULFILLS THE REQUIREMENT FOR 1 MEASLES, 1 MUMPS & 1 RUBELLA IMMUNIZATION; A SECOND MEASLES SHOT IS REQUIRED. MMR WAS NOT AVAILABLE IN THE US BEFORE 1/1/72 ; THEREFORE, NO IMMUNIZATIONS ADMINISTERED BEFORE THAT DATE ARE ACCEPTABLE FOR U.S. STUDENTS.

  2. Documentation from physician stating history of the disease (for measles and mumps only). Physician must enter the dates of initial diagnosis on immunization form. A diagnosis of previous rubella disease is not acceptable proof of immunity under the New York State Health Code. Immunity to all of the three diseases may be proven by a blood test for antibodies. The test is known as a Titer. You must provide a copy of the actual laboratory report with the immunization form in order for this information to be processed for you.
  3. Copies of immunization records from another college or university may also be submitted. Attach the copies to the College's immunization form. Complete the top portion of the form only. Since the requirements vary in different states, your documentation is reviewed to see if it meets New York State standards.
  4. Meningococcal Meningitis Requirement: You must formally document your decision on whether or not to immunize against meningococcal meningitis. Vaccination is optional; your documented decision is required.

Please see the Guide to Completing Immunization Requirements for more information.

What is the deadline to submit immunization records for new students?

Summer and Fall 2014 Admits: September 3, 2014

Spring 2015 Admits: January 20, 2015

Where can I get my vaccinations, and how much do they cost?

Vaccination Locations:

Medical Services at Columbia Health: (212) 854-7426
John Jay Hall, 4th Floor, 114th & Amsterdam
Call to make an appointment.

MMR vaccinations are free for students who have paid the Columbia Health Program fee at this location, and Meningitis immunizations for college students are available for a nominal rate.

MMR immunization for college students is also available for FREE at:

Fort Green HealthCenter: (718) 643-3767
295 Flatbush Avenue Extension between Willoughby Street and Albee Square
Monday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m

Tremont Health Center: (718) 960-0349
1826 Arthur Ave. - 1st floor, Bronx, NY, 10457
(between Cross Bronx Expressway & Tremont Ave.)
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday:  8:30 AM – 2:30 PM

Corona Health Center: (718) 476-7645
34-33 Junction Boulevard - 3rd floor, Queens, NY, 11372
(between 34th Ave. & 34th Road)
Wednesday and Friday, 8:30 AM – 2:30 PM

Click here for NYC Department of Health Immunization Walk-in Clinics.

For more information please visit the New York City Bureau of Immunization website.

I think that I have been immunized, but I do not have documentation to prove this?

We recommend that you visit your local physician and request a blood test known as a Titer. This test determines your immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella. If you are not immune, you should get vaccinated before you arrive on campus. Your physician should complete the university's immunization form for submission.

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

We will review the documentation to see if you meet the New York State requirements. Please include the day, month, year, and dose administered. Documentation must include physician or other health care provider's signature and stamp. Please complete the top portion of the university's form and attach the supporting documentation to it.

Do you accept immunization documents written in another language?

No. Please have immunization documents translated and notarized before submission.

Where can I find the immunization forms for my physician to complete?

Immunization forms can be found online at www.tc.edu/health under the "Forms" Page. Students should complete the top portion of the form. Once the physician or health care provider has completed Section A OR Section B, we recommend that you make a copy for your records before submitting proof of immunity.

Are there exemptions to the requirement?

Yes, there are two ways to document and request exemption from the immunization requirement.

  1. Medical Exemption: You may provide the Office of Insurance & Immunization Records with a letter from your physician requesting a medical exemption from further immunization. You will then be notified in writing if either a temporary or permanent exemption has been granted. If a temporary exemption is given, you will be expected to complete the requirement at the exemption's expiration.
  2. Religious Exemption: Most religious groups which object to immunizations will provide you with a standard form indicating the objection. You may also submit a letter from your congregation explaining the religious basis of your objection. To determine what documentation you must provide, you may email your question to health-immunization@tc.edu or visit the Insurance and Immunization Records Office in 159 Thorndike Hall. The office is open Monday to Thursdays from 9:00 am - 6:00 pm and on Friday from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.

I lost or misplaced my immunization documentation. What should I do?

If you cannot provide documentation, we recommend that you take a blood test known as a titer to determine your immunity. If you are immune then you will not need to take additional action. If not, you will be notified by email of the inoculations you will need to become compliant.

I have been advised that I need a second measles shot to become compliant. Do you offer the single measles vaccine?

Health Services does not provide individual Measles shots, but they can provide you with the MMR booster shot, by appointment.  The cost of the vaccine and appointment vary based on Health Services enrollment.

I thought that I submitted all the documents for my immunization requirement, however, I received an email asking for this information. Why?

If you submitted documentation of immunity, and still received an email regarding your partial or non-compliant status, it is likely that the information does not fulfill all of New York State's requirements. Many students who have received a single dose of either the Measles or MMR vaccine are unaware that the NY STATE PUBLIC HEALTH LAW REQUIRES TWO DOSES OF THE MEASLES VACCINE. Students in this category must obtain a second dose of the MMR vaccine to be fully compliant. Health Services offers the MMR booster shot by appointment at the cost of $50 or for free if you have paid the Columbia Health Fee. If you are not sure why you are not compliant, you may contact us at health-immunization@tc.edu or at (212) 678-3006.

What happens if I do not get the second measles vaccine?

You are not compliant by New York State standards without the second measles shot. We will place a 'hold' on your future registration if you fail to get the second measles inoculation. Please remember to provide the documentation of your second measles shot to the staff in the Office of Insurance and Immunization Records in 159 Thorndike Hall so that your records are accurately updated.

I attended -- or graduated from -- Teachers College and would like to get copies of my immunization records.

Students are provided with a report, on Teachers College letterhead, that confirms the student has submitted his or her Meningitis decision and/or MMR immunization records, along with the dates of immunizations. Students must fill out an Immunization Record Release Form which is available online at www.tc.edu/health under the "Forms" page or in our office at 159 Thorndike Hall. Students can opt to either pick up the immunization report in person, have it mailed to them or a third party, or have it faxed to them or a third party. You are asked to provide your Social Security Number or TC I.D., address, phone number, and signature.



Insurance FAQs

How do I enroll?

If you are living in the residence halls and/or taking 12 billable credits, you will automatically be enrolled in Columbia Student Health Insurance. If neither applies to you, you may enroll via the link found on the MyTC Portal. For instructions on how to enroll please refer to our How to Enroll in/Request to Waive the Insurance page.

How do I request a waiver from the student insurance?

You may only petition to waive Columbia Student Health Insurance if you have an alternative comparable insurance. Please refer to the criteria for the alternative comparable insurance here. If you meet the criteria, you will be able to petition to waive through a link on the MyTC portal. Once you have filled in your information on MyTC portal, you will only hear from our office if you have missing information (e.g. need a picture of your insurance card, copy of benefits, etc.) or if your plan is found to not be comparable.

Please note that the Columbia Health Fee cannot be waived under any circumstances. For more information on the Columbia Health Fee, please refer to the related FAQ below.

Do I have to waive the insurance every year?

Yes. Waivers are only valid for one full academic year (September - August).

Should your alternative coverage extend past one full academic year, you will have to fill out the information on MyTC portal again.

Is it possible to enroll in the Aetna student medical insurance without the Columbia Health Fee?

No. You cannot have the Columbia Student Health Insurance without the Columbia Health Fee. Due to the structure of the Columbia Student Health Insurance, your primary care physicians are covered through the Columbia Health Fee. As the plan is a referral-based policy, all visits must go through Columbia Health first.

What are the effective dates of the coverage?

The period of coverage extends from September 1 - August 14. For more information, please refer to our Period of Coverage and Health Fees page.

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

Unfortunately, once you enroll in the Columbia Student Health Insurance, you will no longer be able to use your current primary care physician. However, you will be able to choose a new primary care physician within Columbia Health.

Does the insurance plan include dental and vision?

DENTAL INFORMATION
Columbia Student Health Insurance includes one cleaning and set of x-rays per academic year at Morningside Dental located at 1244 Amsterdam Avenue (at 121st Street). Please contact them for an appointment at: 212-865-8467. A $20 copay will be requested at the time of visit.

Should you want a more comprehensive dental plan, Aetna offers optional coverage through Aetna Advantage. For more information see our Aetna Advantage Dental Coverage page. Payment for this plan is made directly through Aetna on their website.

You may opt-in for the Dental plan without being on the Columbia Student Health Insurance.

VISION INFORMATION
We offer a Vision One Discount Program that offers discounts on optics (prescription and non-prescription). For more information please refer to our Vision Care page.

I waived the Aetna student medical insurance. Why is there still a Columbia Health Fee?

The Columbia Health Fee is in place so that students have easy access to a physician, nutritionist, and a psychological counselor, for a per semester fee (Fall and Spring). This fee is mandatory for all full-time students (12 billable credits) or students living in the residence halls at Teachers College and may not be waived. Full-time students who waive the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan are still required to pay the Columbia Health Fee and are automatically enrolled. 


For part-time students, the Columbia Health Fee is not required. If you would like to opt into the Columbia Health Fee to have access to these great benefits that is an option for you. Please contact our office for the appropriate enrollment form.

How and when will I get my insurance card?

Your insurance card will be mailed directly from Aetna to the address listed with the registrar after your enrollment in the insurance has been processed. Please make sure your address is up to date. Should you need to print a copy of your insurance card, you can visit our Print Your Insurance Card page for directions.

If I am a part-time student, can I still enroll in the Columbia Student Health Insurance?

Yes, you can enroll via the link found on MyTC portal. For directions on enrolling, please refer to our How to Enroll In/Request to Waive the Insurance page.

Do I need referrals?

Yes. If you are enrolled in the Columbia Student Health Insurance, you will need a referral from your primary care physician at Columbia Health to see specialists. Referrals are for your diagnosis, not for your doctor (e.g. if you have a referral to get a mole checked and the dermatologist checks and finds a rash, you will need another referral to check the rash).

Where can I get proof of my insurance coverage?

All proof of insurance coverage can be obtained through Aetna. Please call their number at 1-800-859-8471.

I am graduating. Are there any options for continuing my medical coverage?

Yes. You may obtain the Continuation Plan. Please refer to our page for more information: Continuation Plan

How do I access my benefits if I am out of the country?

Under the Columbia University Student Health Insurance Plan, students are covered for travel abroad under the On-Call International program. For all information concerning travel medical insurance, please view the Travel Assistance Services section on the Aetna Student Health page.

If I have medical bills to submit to Aetna, where do I find the claim forms?

MEDICAL BILL CLAIM PROCEDURE
Please submit your claims to the following address:
Aetna Student Health
P.O. Box 981106
El Paso, TX 79998

On occasion, the claims investigation process will require additional information in order to properly adjudicate the claim. This investigation will be handled directly by Aetna.

Customer Service Representatives are available 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday, for any questions.

Please note:

1.     Bills must be submitted within 120 days from the date of treatment.
2.     Payment for Covered Medical Expenses will be made directly to the hospital or physician concerned, unless bill receipts and proof of payment are submitted.
3.     If itemized medical bills are available at the time the claim form is submitted, attach them to the claim form. Subsequent medical bills should be mailed promptly to the above address.
4.     You will receive an “Explanation of Benefits” when your claims are processed. The Explanation of Benefits will explain how your claim was processed, according to the benefits of your Student Accident and Sickness Insurance Plan.
 
PRESCRIPTION DRUG CLAIM PROCEDURE
For prescriptions, all claims will need to be submitted to Aetna Pharmacy Management. More information about the process can be obtained by calling 800-238-6279. The form can be found here.

HOW TO APPEAL A CLAIM
In the event a Covered Person disagrees with how a claim was processed, he/she may request
a review of the decision. The Covered Person’s request must include why he/she disagrees with
the way the claim was processed. The request must also include any additional information that
supports the claim (e.g., medical records, Physician’s office notes, operative reports,
Physician’s letter of medical necessity, etc.). Please submit all requests to:

Aetna
P.O. Box 14464
Lexington, KY 40512
 
Or call in the appeal to Customer Service using the toll-free telephone number shown on the
member ID card: (800) 859 - 8471

For more detailed information please refer to our Prescription Drug Claim Procedure web page.

Are my spouse/domestic partner/children eligible for coverage under my plan?

You can add your spouse, domestic partner, or children as a dependent. We will need a government-issued marriage and/or domestic partnership license for enrollment for your partner. If you want to enroll your children, we will need a copy of your child's birth certificate.

All documents must be submitted in English. If the original document is not in English, it must be translated and notarized.

Please refer to our Dependent Coverage webpage for additional information.