Insurance Waiver

Waiving the Columbia Health Insurance Plan

Eligible students who are automatically enrolled in the Columbia Plan may request to waive coverage by the deadline by completing the waiver form online in myTC PortalAs a domestic student, if you plan on dropping below 12 billable credits (and you are not living in the dorms) DO NOT submit a waiver. The Insurance and Columbia Health & Related Services Fee will reverse off within 24 hours of you dropping.

Please note that domestic students will not have the option to waive until they are (1) registered for classes and (2) the enrollment/waiver portal has been opened. Students will be notified when the option to waive is available.

The deadlines to submit waiver requests are September 30 for continuing and new students entering in the fall and February 15 for new students admitted for the Spring.

PLEASE NOTE: A valid waiver request must be submitted each year during the fall semester by the specified deadline to substitute other comparable coverage for the Columbia Plan.

Even if you plan to waive participation in the Columbia Plan because you currently have comparable coverage, you are strongly encouraged to review the coverage your current plan offers and compare it to the coverage provided by the Columbia Plan, which has been designed specifically for students. For information about comparing your plan with the Columbia Student Health Insurance please refer to the resources provided by Columbia Health‌. For additional information, please see our brochures and guides web page.

2020-2021 Academic Year

Fall 2020 Only

Exception Criteria – International Students – Online, not in the United States, and no I-20 for entry to the United States during the fall 2020 term (through 12/31/2020).

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 in partnership with Columbia University, requires all international students to enroll in the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan. International students are defined as any enrolled student that is not a US Citizen or Permanent Resident. All international students, regardless of the number of enrolled credits, will be enrolled in the Columbia Plan.

On a case-by-case basis, international students may be considered for an exception to the insurance requirement when they can document they will remain in their home country and will not be in the United States during the full duration of the fall 2020 term (through 12/31/2020).  Students residing in a third country (not home country and not the United States are required to enroll in the Columbia University Student Health Insurance Plan).

International students must request an exception and provide the following:

  1. Confirmation that they will not be in the United States during the fall 2020 term (I-20 entry date of 1/1/2021 or later).
  2. Proof of address where they reside.  Residency confirmation can be accomplished through one of the following options:
    • Recent copy of one of the following showing the name and address
      • Lease/Mortgage/Property deed
      • Utility/Credit Card Statement
      • Bank Statement
    • Other comparable document showing name and address
  3. Proof of health care insurance or comparable in their location of residence. 

Link to International Student On-Campus Exception Form


Students with approved exceptions assume full responsibility for medical costs not covered by their health insurance plan.

Fall Term

September 30 via myTC Portal


Spring Term
(for newly admitted
Spring students only)
February 15 via myTC Portal

The waiver criteria have been aligned to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Therefore, all plans must meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act including, but not limited to, coverage for pre-existing conditions, coverage minimum & maximums, and deductibles.  This applies to international plans in addition to domestic plan offerings.

Please go to New York State of Health (NY’s Health Insurance Marketplace) for specific, detailed information about the plans available on the marketplace.

Columbia Insurance Plans & the Affordable Care Act

Teachers College requires all full time students taking 12 billable credits, and/or living in the Teachers College residence halls, and/or all international students to have health insurance. Domestic students that choose coverage from a non-University provider must be in a plan that offers comparable coverage. For more details on the Columbia Student Health Insurance-specific requirements, please refer to the information on Columbia Health's website.

The current 2020-2021 Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan offered through Aetna Student Health already meets many of the regulations. The Columbia Plan is reviewed and renewed annually and will continue to meet or exceed all applicable regulations.

For more information about the Affordable Care Act and student health insurance, please visit the American College Health Association website.

All full-time domestic students (12 billable credits or more and/or living in the Residence Halls) and all international students are by default enrolled in to the Columbia Student Health Insurance plan.

Domestic full-time students (12 Billable credits or more and/or living in the Residence Halls) can request a waiver from enrollment by submitting a request online before September 30th for Fall semester and February 15th for new Spring students only.

All requests are considered but approval is not guaranteed.  International students are not permitted to waive the Columbia Plan unless covered by a US-based, ACA Compliant, employer-sponsored plan that meets all of the waiver criteria below.

Please review your alternate coverage to determine whether it meets all of the following criteria:

Column 1Column 2

The plan must meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) including coverage for routine, urgent, and emergent care for all Essential Benefits in New York State. For a description of the ACA Essential Benefits please see our Compare Your Coverage tool 

Information regarding ACA regulations:


The plan must be effective, and remain in force, for the duration of the following schedule:

New Students

  • Fall admits: August 15, 2020 to August 14, 2021
  • Spring admits: January 1, 2021 to August 14, 2021
  • Summer admits: May 1, 2021 to August 14, 2021

Continuing Students

  • August 15, 2020 to August 14, 2021

Graduating Students

  • August 15, 2020, the last day of the month in the last academic term in which the student is registered
3 The plan must be licensed to do business in the United States.

The Columbia Health & Related Services Fee is mandatory for all living in TC residence halls, all students registered for 12 or more billable credits in the Fall or Spring term, an/or International students, regardless of the type of insurance coverage carried. This fee cannot be waived. The Columbia Health & Related Services Fee is applied during the Fall and Spring semester on an annual basis. For additional questions about the Columbia Health Fee, please refer to our FAQs.

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