Student Health Plan Plus

Current plan

(August 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021)

> See all 2020-2021 plan information

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 Plus (SHP+) provides health, dental, and vision coverage to eligible students for no annual fee. 

Students enrolled in SHP+ are enrolled in two plans simultaneously: a Cornell student health plan administered by Aetna Student Health, and Fee-for-Service (aka "regular") Medicaid provided by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).

Learn more under "plan highlights" below.


You are eligible to participate in SHP+ if you are:

  • A full-time Cornell University undergraduate, professional, or self-paying graduate student studying on the Ithaca campus
  • A New York State resident 
  • Enrolled in (or eligible for) Medicaid in New York State
    (If you have questions about enrollment in or eligibility for Medicaid, please contact us at 607-255-5467 or

International students: In rare cases, international students may be eligible for SHP+, but are strongly advised to consult with Global Cornell before applying.

Dependents: Student dependents (spouses, partners, children) are not eligible to enroll in SHP+. 

Plan highlights

  • Has no annual fee / premium for students (the premium is fully covered by the NYSDOH)
  • Has cost-shares (e.g., copays and coinsurance) resembling Medicaid (no charge for medical care, mental health care, and routine dental and vision care when seeing a participating provider)
  • Fully meets (and exceeds) Cornell's health insurance requirements
  • Provides coverage 24 hours a day, anywhere in the world
  • Includes coverage in the national network with any Aetna participating provider (including Cornell Health)
  • For students in Ithaca, provides coordination of services by Cornell Health staff and a provider network that includes the local hospital
  • Includes dental and vision benefits
  • Covers pre-existing health conditions
  • Guards against catastrophic expenses
  • 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 
  • Includes world-wide emergency travel assistance and air transportation services
  • Provides convenient assistance with enrollment and claims submission through the Student Health Benefits

  > See 2020-2021 plan information


The first step to enrolling in SHP+ is to submit a Release of Information Agreement Form to Student Health Benefits (by email, fax, or mail). 

By submitting this form, you are authorizing Student Health Benefits to access your personal identifying information (including your name, date of birth, and social security number) and to send that information to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) in order to verify your enrollment status in New York State Medicaid.

If you are approved by NYSDOH, we will enroll you in SHP+. Enrolling in SHP+ (administered by Aetna Student Health) will result in your disenrollment from your current Medicaid Managed Care plan. This may result in a change of in-network Medicaid providers. 

Once enrolled, it will be your responsibility to keep your enrollment in Medicaid active. (Please refer to the Release of Information Agreement Form for more details.)

A note about financial aid

If you receive financial aid from Cornell, your award will be based upon the estimated cost of attendance, includes a portion per semester toward "health-related costs." This contribution does NOT apply to students enrolled in SHP+ because you are not charged for your health insurance. The Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment will revise your financial aid award to remove the aid for health-related expenses. 

In the event that – prior to this grant aid revision – your award includes a contribution for health-related costs, you will owe that back to your Bursar account. Please consult the Financial Aid Information for Newly Admitted Students for more information.

SHP+ contact information

If you would like to learn more about SHP+, or would like to speak to someone about your eligibility or possible enrollment, please email us at