Cornell requires all students to have quality health insurance (see Cornell Requirements). The following information explains how these requirements apply to international students.
Automatic Student Health Plan (SHP) enrollment
Each year, full-time registered students are automatically enrolled in Cornell's Student Health Plan (SHP) to ensure that they have health insurance that meets Cornell's requirements.
Automatic SHP enrollment takes place each June for the following academic year, and each December for students starting in the spring.
Mandatory SHP coverage for international students
International students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional) are required to stay enrolled in SHP, unlike domestic students who may apply to waive their SHP enrollment.
Based on an extensive study conducted by Cornell's Student Health Benefits Advisory Committee, this SHP requirement ensures that international students have access to affordable health care anywhere in the United States. Mandatory SHP coverage also mitigates the complexities and expense of health care in the U.S., and prevents aggressive marketing from providers of inadequate insurance plans.
Exceptions may be granted to international students who are covered by a U.S.-based, employer-sponsored, group health plan. Please contact Student Health Benefits for details no later than July 31 for the following academic year.
Optional dental & vision plans
SHP does NOT include dental and vision coverage. If you anticipate wanting to see a dentist or eye doctor (or getting glasses or contacts)* in the United States, consider enrolling in Cornell’s optional Dental Plan and / or Vision Plan to avoid paying full price for care.
*If you need care for an injury to your eyes or teeth, that would be considered medical care and would be covered under SHP.
Students with partners or families can enroll dependents in SHP, or in Cornell's Dental Plan and / or Vision Plan (students must be enrolled in the respective plan before enrolling spouses, domestic partners, or children).
Please contact us by phone, email, or – if you're in Ithaca – by stopping by our offices at Cornell Health. We are here to help you make the most out of your health care coverage in the United States.