Students Studying Abroad
Cornell requires all students to have quality health insurance (see Cornell's Requirements). The following information explains how these requirements apply to students studying abroad outside of the United States.
Automatic SHP enrollment for study-abroad students
Each year, all full-time Cornell students – including those who plan to study abroad – are automatically enrolled in Cornell's Student Health Plan (SHP) to ensure that they have health insurance that meets Cornell's requirements. Exception: Some students may be eligible for Cornell's Student Health Plan Plus (SHP+).
SHP and SHP+ provide excellent international coverage, with benefits available to you at the participating provider care level. See "Using SHP / SHP+ abroad" below for more detail.
Eligible domestic students who have alternate health insurance that meets Cornell's requirements may apply to waive their SHP enrollment. Students must submit a SHP waiver application annually to demonstrate that their insurance meets the university's requirements. Learn more about waiving SHP.
Using health insurance while abroad
University-provided travel insurance
Effective July 1, 2020, all registered travelers on Cornell-related international travel are fully covered – at no cost to the traveler – under Cornell’s accident, sickness, and emergency care insurance plan.
This insurance acts as primary coverage (will be used first and supersedes all other medical insurance) for urgent and emergent medical expenses and emergency mental health expenses, among other expenses, and works in tandem with Cornell’s 24/7 travel assistance.
NOTE: Cornell's international travel insurance does not, by itself, meet Cornell's health insurance requirements, and cannot be used to waive SHP.
Using SHP / SHP+ abroad
- expenses incurred during personal travel or vacation not related to a Cornell travel trip
- routine (non-emergency) or ongoing medical or mental health care, which is not covered by Cornell’s international travelers insurance
Students with private insurance
Some U.S. insurance plans – even those that meet Cornell's requirements – provide limited coverage abroad. If you have private insurance (i.e., you are not enrolled in SHP or SHP+), be sure you understand your plan's international coverage before you travel.
Cornell's travel insurance (see above) provides coverage for urgent and emergent medical expenses and emergency mental health expenses. However, if you anticipate needing routine or ongoing care while abroad, you should research what your insurance 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.
If your insurance company cannot provide you with appropriate coverage, you can purchase an additional policy to cover you while you are abroad (to supplement your private insurance plan and Cornell's travel insurance). Our staff can help you explore options for supplemental coverage; please contact us for assistance. You may also speak with your study abroad advisors.
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.
Please contact us.