Considering An Alternate Health Insurance Plan
Health insurance benefits can vary from plan to plan. As you consider whether to enroll in the Columbia Student Medical Insurance Plan or in an alternate insurance plan, here are a few points to consider before deciding:
- Does the alternate insurance plan meet Columbia University’s criteria for comparable insurance coverage?
- Will you age out of your personal insurance plan, carried by parents or legal guardians?
- 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 cost of in-/out-of-network providers, cost of lab examinations, prescription medication benefits, and any other frequently used health benefits).
Why the Columbia Plan?
The Columbia Plan provides coverage for a broad range of health care 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 for the summer
- benefits are included for emergency assistance while traveling outside the United States
- the Columbia Plan covers an academic year, starting September 1 and ending August 31 of the following year.
It is important to know that the Columbia Plan fulfills the definition of creditable coverage defined in the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The Columbia Plan also meets and exceeds United States government requirements for international students and scholars.