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Study Abroad

Traveling abroad with SHP

The Student Health Plan (SHP) covers your medical and mental health care needs when you’re traveling abroad. You can go anywhere you need to for care and your claims will be reimbursed at the Participating Provider level. SHP also includes Worldwide Travel Assistance with a 24/7 on-call center that can help you access doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and other services.

SHP meets all of Cornell’s health insurance requirements for those traveling abroad (see below).

Requirements for those with other insurance

Cornell requires students who are traveling abroad to be covered by an active health insurance policy throughout the duration of their study abroad experience, and any periods of travel before or after.

Your health care plan must:

  • provide you with coverage for medically necessary care – not just emergency care – while abroad 
  • cover pre-existing conditions
  • cover you in your host country and in other country where you might travel
  • have a minimum benefit of at least $250,000 per year*
  • provide inpatient and outpatient mental health coverage

    *Note: If your health insurance in the US does not have an unlimited lifetime benefit, you should consider benefit limits higher than $250,000.

Ensuring you have appropriate coverage:

All Cornell students should already have insurance coverage that meets the requirements above (per Cornell’s annual insurance waiver process). However, some of these approved insurance plans may decrease the coverage when you are overseas.

Please contact your insurance provider to verify that your level of coverage does not decrease when you are out of the country. If the level of coverage does decrease, you can ask your health insurance company whether you can purchase a rider to obtain the necessary level of coverage.

If your insurance company cannot provide you with the coverage that you are required to have while overseas, you can purchase supplemental study abroad health insurance through a study abroad health insurance provider such as HTH Worldwide, iNext, or CISI. It is important to note that if you purchase a supplemental study abroad health insurance plan, this plan does not replace your primary insurance; it works in conjunction with your primary insurance, so you must also maintain coverage under your primary insurance while you are abroad. 

Note: Certain countries or programs may provide or require their own health insurance coverage. But in most cases, this coverage does not meet Cornell’s requirements, so you may need to be covered by two or three policies while abroad.

Understand your plan:

Your copayments and out-of-pocket costs might be different when using your insurance plan abroad. Before you travel, be sure to research what your plan covers, what costs you are responsible for (especially those you are responsible for paying up front), and how to file a claim for reimbursement if necessary.

And finally, be sure to carry your health insurance card and contact information with you at all times.

Requirements for visiting international students

Nearly all full-time registered international students are required to enroll in Cornell's Student Health Plan (SHP).

Exceptions may be granted to international students who are covered by a U.S.-based, employer-sponsored, group health plan; please contact the Office of Student Health Benefits. (Ithaca students who are not covered by SHP pay a student health fee to support access to health services on campus.)

Visiting international students who are not enrolled in SHP and do not pay the Ithaca health fee should purchase insurance that meets the requirements listed above.


Contact Information

Student Health Benefits
Cornell Health (Levels 4 & 6)
110 Ho Plaza
Ithaca, NY 14853