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Cornell Policy

In 1974, Cornell's Board of Trustees instituted a policy requiring all students to have quality health insurance.

Cornell's criteria for adequate health insurance are designed to assure that all students have access to quality, timely, confidential, and affordable medical and mental health care, and are protected against costs that could undermine their education or financial or personal well-being.

  • The criteria are subject to change each academic year.
  • Cornell's Student Health Benefits Advisory Committee (SHBAC) (formerly the Student Insurance Advisory Committee) determines the criteria on the basis of their ongoing, careful review of the health care needs and experiences of Cornell students, the ways various health insurance plans work and don't work on campus and in the Ithaca area (as well as for study abroad and other travel opportunities), and local and national health insurance trends and options.
  • The SHBAC strongly urges ALL students to consider the benefits of Cornell's Student Health Plan (SHP) as they make plans for the coming year.

2017-2018 health insurance requirements 

Each year, all full-time registered students (as defined and reported by the University Registrar) are automatically enrolled in Cornell's Student Health Plan (SHP), but may request to waive the SHP requirement.

Requests to waive may be granted with demonstration of alternative insurance that:

  1. Is provided by a company licensed to do business in the United States, with a U.S. claims payment office and a U.S. phone number.
  2. Has unlimited annual and lifetime benefits (i.e., no policy maximum). 
  3. Will be in force for the duration of the academic year, or until their program ends.
  4. Provides coverage for health care where the student is attending school (Ithaca or elsewhere) at a reimbursement rate of at least 70% of U.S. based "reasonable and customary" charges. Coverage must include:
    • Inpatient Care- Emergency Care
    • Urgent Care
    • Specialty Care
    • Diagnostic Imaging and Testing
    • Outpatient Mental Health Care
    • Cayuga Medical Center as a participating provider for students studying in Ithaca (exceptions to this requirement will only be made for students who will be off-campus for the year or for plans with Out of Network reimbursement rates of at least 70% of U.S. based “reasonable and customary” charges at Cayuga Medical Center)


> Learn more at Enroll or Waive

Student Health Fee

Students who waive their SHP enrollment pay a Student Health Fee that gives them pre-paid access to care at Cornell Health, and helps support the health and well-being of the entire campus.

Contact Information

Student Health Benefits
Cornell Health
110 Ho Plaza, Level 6
Ithaca, NY 14853