Student Health Plan (SHP)

Important Address Information

SHP uses your local address:  Any mailed communications from SHP, Aetna, or OptumRx will be sent to the local address you have on file with the Office of the University Registrar at Cornell.   For current students, address changes need to be made to through Student Essentials and will automatically update your address on file with Aetna and OptumRx.

International students should make sure they have a local U.S. address entered in Student Essentials.

If you have recently graduated or withdrawn from Cornell, you will need to update your address with Student Health Benefits for your address to be updated with Aetna and OptumRx.

COVID-19 testing/treatment

SHP provides coverage for plan members who require testing and/or treatment for COVID-19. See details on our Health Plans page.


Cornell's Student Health Plan (SHP) provides platinum-level health insurance coverage to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, and their dependents.

Administered by Aetna Student Health, SHP was designed with input from Cornell students to provide access to convenient and comprehensive care on Cornell's Ithaca campus, in New York City, and anywhere else in the U.S or abroad. 

  > See 2021-2022 plan information

Plan highlights

  • Provides extensive coverage at a reasonable cost for most on- or off-campus health care
  • Provides coverage 24 hours a day, anywhere in the world
  • Includes 90% coverage in the national network with any Aetna participating provider
  • For students in Ithaca, provides coordination of services by Cornell Health and a provider network that includes the local hospital
  • Covers pre-existing health conditions
  • Guards against catastrophic expenses
  • Continues coverage when students have to take a leave of absence
  • Meets or exceeds all F-1 and J-1 visa requirements
  • Meets or exceeds all Federal, State, and American College Health Association standards for health insurance 
  • Exceeds the requirements of the U.S. Affordable Care Act 

Annual enrollment & waiver process

Students enrolled in a full-time residential (non-distance learning) Cornell program are required to confirm enrollment in SHP or submit a waiver. (Some students may be eligible for SHP+ instead of SHP.)  Students that do not have an approved waiver will be auto-enrolled in SHP.

Eligible domestic students may request to waive their enrollment with documentation of alternate insurance that meets Cornell's requirements. 

 Learn more about requirements and options for ...

Students who stay enrolled in SHP may choose to enroll dependents in the plan.

Using SHP

SHP has you covered anywhere in the world. Learn more about:

Refer to your plan year information for prescription coverage and other details.


Please contact us.