Students Studying Abroad

Automatic SHP enrollment 

Cornell's annual Student Health Plan (SHP) enrollment and waiver process applies to students who will be studying outside the United States. Learn more about these requirements

Insurance requirements for students abroad

Cornell requires students who are traveling abroad to be covered by an active health insurance policy throughout the duration of their study abroad experience, and any periods of travel before or after.

Your health care plan must:

  • provide you with coverage for medically necessary care – not just emergency care – while abroad 
  • cover pre-existing conditions
  • cover you in your host country and in other country where you might travel
  • have a minimum benefit of at least $250,000 per year*
  • provide inpatient and outpatient mental health coverage

*Note: If your health insurance in the US does not have an unlimited lifetime benefit, you should consider benefit limits higher than $250,000.

SHP & SHP+ members

Cornell's Student Health Plan (SHP) and Student Health Plan Plus (SHP+) meet the insurance requirements listed above. Please visit Using SHP Abroad and Using SHP+ Abroad for details about how to use your plan outside of the U.S.

Students with private insurance 

Your should already have insurance coverage that meets the requirements above (per Cornell’s annual insurance waiver process). However, please keep in mind that some of these approved insurance plans may decrease your coverage when you are overseas.

Please contact your insurance provider to verify that your level of coverage does not decrease when you are out of the country. If the level of coverage does decrease, you can ask your health insurance company whether you can purchase a rider to obtain the necessary level of coverage.

If your insurance company cannot provide you with the required level of coverage, you must obtain an additional policy to cover you while you are abroad. To provide an option, Cornell has negotiated a plan with GeoBlue that meets the required level of coverage. Cornell student travelers may enroll in and pay for coverage here

It is important to note that if you purchase a supplemental study abroad health insurance plan, this plan does not replace your primary insurance; it works in conjunction with your primary insurance, so you must also maintain coverage under your primary insurance while you are abroad.

Note: Certain countries or programs may provide or require their own health insurance coverage. But in most cases, this coverage does not meet Cornell’s requirements, so you may need to be covered by two or three policies while abroad.

Understand your plan:

Your copayments and out-of-pocket costs might be different when using your insurance plan abroad. Before you travel, be sure to research what your plan covers, what costs you are responsible for (especially those you are responsible for paying up front), and how to file a claim for reimbursement if necessary.

And finally, be sure to carry your health insurance card and contact information with you at all times.

Student visa application assistance

If you need proof of medical insurance coverage for your student visa application, please email us to request a Travel Letter. 


Please contact us by phone, email, or – if you're in Ithaca – by stopping by our offices at Cornell Health.