To provide students with access to consistent, high-quality care that complements the health and well-being programming offered on-campus at Columbia Health, Teachers College offers the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan, in partnership with Columbia University and Aetna Student Health, to all registered students enrolled in degree-granting programs.
For the most recent plan brochure and information regarding the Columbia Student Health Insurance plan, please visit the Teachers College Columbia University specific webpage.
Enrollment in the Columbia Student Health Insurance cannot be processed until a student registers for classes. If you are a continuing student, you are urged to register for courses prior to academic breaks, especially winter; without active registration, your student status cannot be verified. Thus, you may experience a lapse in coverage.
Please see our Period of Coverage page for more information.
Students meeting the following criteria are automatically enrolled in the Columbia Student Health Insurance and assessed the Columbia Health Fee:
*Certificates of Equivalency - COEs - are not considered billable hours.
Enrollment is on an annual basis and the fees will be applied during fall and spring terms. Students who are enrolled in the fall, cannot drop or change the coverage during the spring semester, even if their enrollment drops below 9 billable credits. Please be advised that if you meet the criteria of automatic enrollment, you will be enrolled for the entire year regardless of when your course registration takes place.
Domestic students may also request to waive their automatic enrollment in the Columbia Student Health Insurance by documenting Acceptable and Comparable Coverage. A new insurance enrollment or waiver request must be submitted each year during the fall semester, regardless of if your insurance information has changed.
Any registered Teachers College student in a degree-granting program (including part-time students and students taking only dissertation advisement) can opt to voluntarily enroll in the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan. You can enroll online using myTC Portal beginning mid-July. To opt into the health fee only, please email Insurance and Immunization Records at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are two important deadlines to enroll in or request to waive the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan, outlined below:
September 30 via myTC Portal
February 15 via myTC Portal
We strongly recommend that students finalize their health insurance decisions by September 20 (Fall) and February 15 (Spring), as deadlines for other offices may occur before ours.
Requests to change enrollment after September 30 (February 15, for new Spring students only) will be considered only if a student loses other health insurance coverage under a "change of life" circumstance. "Change of life" circumstances that warrant late enrollment are included below. You, your partner/spouse, or child can enroll for coverage within 60 days of the loss of coverage in a health plan, if coverage was terminated because you, your partner/spouse, or child are no longer eligible for coverage under the other health plan due to:
1. Termination of employment;
2. Termination of the other health plan;
3. Death of the partner/spouse;
4. Legal separation, divorce or annulment;
5. Reduction of hours of employment;
6. Employer contributions toward a health plan were terminated; or
7. A child no longer qualifies for coverage as a child under another health plan.
You, your partner/spouse, or child can also enroll 60 days from exhaustion for your COBRA or continuation coverage.
We must receive notice and premium payment within 60 days of the loss of coverage. The effective date of your coverage will depend on when we receive your application. In addition, you, your partner/spouse, or child can also enroll for coverage within 60 days of the following event:
1. Birth or adoption of a child
2. You, or your partner/spouse or child lose eligibility for Medicaid or a state child health plan.
We must receive notice and premium payment within 60 days of this event.
Late requests for enrollment will be reviewed upon receipt of documentation of such a change. Students must contact Insurance & Immunization Records at email@example.com within 30-60 days of losing insurance and provide documentation of coverage termination and change of life criteria.
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.
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.
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/.
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.
Late requests for waiving will be reviewed upon receipt of documentation of alternative and comparable coverage. Students must contact Insurance & Immunization Records at firstname.lastname@example.org within 30 days of gaining insurance and provide documentation of coverage enrollment. Documentation includes a front-and-back image of your insurance card, printed with your identifying information.
For more information please see our Important Waiver Information page for more information.
The Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan provides coverage on a global level. If you are outside of the NYC area or the United States, you still have insurance coverage. It is recommended that you phone On Call International preemptively if you know you will be traveling, or spending time abroad, to ensure your coverage and know of medical services nearby in advance of travel. Similarly to needing a referral aside from care at Columbia Health Services, prior approval is needed. If you are in need of medical attention, please contact a representative at On Call International to gain approval for services.
Aetna Health Insurance and Travel Assistance Information:
On Call International Information:
If phoning from US or Canada, call 1-866-525-1956
If phoning from outside US or Canada, call collect 603-328-1956 from anywhere in the world.
Navigating the US Health Care System can be complex. To help ensure that our international students have access to the highest quality of care on and off-campus, Teachers College and Columbia University require ALL international students, regardless of credit or visa status, to enroll in the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan. The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section below address the nature of this requirement along with information on how to acces care, both on and off campus.
To enroll in the Columbia Plan, please follow the following instructions.
Please note that students will not have the option to voluntarily enroll until they are (1) registered for classes and (2) the enrollment/waiver portal has been opened. Students will be notified when the option to enroll is available.
Requests to change enrollment after September 30 (February 15 for new Spring students) will be considered only if a student loses other health insurance coverage under a "change of life" circumstance. "Change of life" circumstances that warrant late enrollment include:
Late requests for enrollment will be reviewed upon receipt of documentation of such a change. Students must contact Insurance & Immunization Records at email@example.com within 30-60 days of losing their insurance, and provide documentation of coverage termination and change of life criteria.