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News & Changes

March 2024

Special Notice for Students Enrolled in New York State Essential Plan 3 or 4 Coverage

Effective 5/1/24, the Office of Student Health Benefits will no longer approve Student Health Plan (SHP) waiver or termination of coverage requests from students enrolled in the New York State Essential Plans 3 and 4. All existing SHP waivers and terminations for students enrolled in these plans will expire on 6/30/24 and will not be renewed.

Why are we making this change?

Cornell University requires that all residential students have health insurance that meets certain minimum requirements to ensure that lack of access to healthcare is not a barrier to the success of any student. International students are generally not eligible to waive enrollment in SHP, although certain narrow exceptions apply if students complete a waiver application showing proof of alternate coverage that meets certain requirements.

The Office of Student Health Benefits, in consultation with Cornell’s Office of Global Learning, has determined the New York State Essential Plans 3 and 4 do not provide adequate coverage for international students studying at the Ithaca or NYC Tech campuses to meet the waiver requirements. Specifically, the Essential Plans 3 and 4 do not provide out-of-network coverage, have a narrow geographic coverage focus, and do not offer repatriation benefits.

How will I be affected?

If you previously waived or terminated the SHP coverage using the New York State Essential Plan 3 or 4 coverage and are continuing in the Fall 2024 semester:

  • You will automatically be enrolled in SHP beginning on 7/1/24, unless you complete the waiver process using alternate coverage, as described below.
  • After enrollment in SHP, your fall tuition bill will include a charge for the cost of SHP.
  • If you can provide documentation of alternate coverage with a US-based employer-provided plan that meets university requirements, you may be able to waive or terminate enrollment in SHP, but must contact our office for assistance before the fall waiver deadline of 7/31/24.

If you are graduating on or prior to 6/30/24, you will not be affected by this change.

If you have waived coverage using other New York State Essential Plans 1 or 2, you will not be affected by this change.

November 2023

Updated Prescription Formulary Documents

Our prescription provider, OptumRX, updates their formulary twice annually. This affects what drugs are covered and the copays you will be responsible for at the pharmacy. The following documents will be in effect as of 1/1/24:

June 2023

SHP Plus pilot program ended June 30, 2023. 

SHP Plus formed nearly a decade ago as a pilot program offered in partnership between the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and Cornell University to support Medicaid-eligible students with no-cost health coverage ended June 30, 2023. Read our Q&A for more detail about the program ending and alternative plan options. 

May 2023

Federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Ends 

There have been changes to the cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment on SHP. Learn more at our COVID-19 coverage information page.

2023-2024 SHP Rates Forthcoming

As a product licensed by New York State's Department of Financial Services, SHP requires annual approval of its student premium rate. Upon approval, we will post information on the cost of SHP for the coming academic year on our rates and dates page.

Waiving SHP for returning students is now easier!

For more information, see our How Do I Waive page.