Access to health care and adequate health insurance are essential to your health, and to your ability to achieve your goals at Cornell. That's why in 1974 Cornell's Board of Trustees instituted a policy requiring all students to have quality health insurance.

Cornell's criteria for quality health insurance are designed to ensure that all students have access to professional, 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.

    Cornell's health insurance requirements  

    All full-time registered students must have health insurance that:

    • 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
    • has unlimited annual and lifetime benefits (i.e., no policy maximum)
    • will be in force for the duration of the academic year, or until their program ends
    • 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 (CMC) as a participating provider* for students studying in Ithaca. (CMC is Ithaca's only hospital; see plans that CMC participates with.)
        *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.

    Please note that ...

    • The university's health insurance requirements are subject to change each academic year.
    • Cornell's Student Health Benefits Advisory Committee (SHBAC) 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 Cornell's Ithaca campus, in the Ithaca area, in New York City, and elsewhere in the United States and abroad; 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.

    Annual SHP enrollment / waiver process

    Automatic SHP enrollment: To ensure that students have health insurance that meets the requirements above, registered students taking 12 or more credits during the academic year are automatically enrolled in Cornell's Student Health Plan (SHP) each year. SHP is a platinum-level plan that meets or exceeds the university's health insurance requirements.

    Waiving SHP: Eligible student who have alternate health insurance that meets Cornell's requirements may apply to waive their SHP enrollment. Students who retain their own insurance must submit a waiver application annually.


    Student Health Fee (Ithaca students only)

    Ithaca students who are not enrolled in a Cornell student health plan (SHP or SHP+) pay a Student Health Fee, giving them the same pre-paid access to care at Cornell Health as SHP members have (most visits / services have a $10 visit copay).

    Academic-year students: learn more at Requirements for Ithaca Students. Summer students: please refer to Requirements for Summer Students.

    Information just for you

    Please visit the following pages to find population-specific requirements and options: