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Waive or Cancel SHP

All Cornell students* must either enroll in SHP or, if eligible to waive coverage, show that they have alternate health insurance coverage which meets university requirements.

Not sure if you want to waive? To compare your existing coverage to SHP, you can use this plan comparison checklist.

If you are eligible to waive and wish to do so, your health insurance must:

  • Be provided by a government agency, broker, or company licensed to do business in the United States, underwritten in the US, and have a claims payment office within the US with a US phone number.

  • Not have an annual or lifetime limit on essential health benefits (as defined by the ACA).

  • Be in force for the duration of the academic year, or until the end of your program.

  • Provide “federal bronze level” 40% coinsurance (meaning the plan pays 60%) or better coverage for health care at the campus location where the student is attending school.

  • Include coverage for:

    • Inpatient Care,

    • Emergency Care,

    • Urgent Care,

    • Specialist Care,

    • Diagnostic Imaging and Testing,

    • Outpatient Mental Health Care.

The following are examples of plans which do NOT meet Cornell’s Requirements:

  • Medicaid Plans which do not provide the above benefits in the location where the student is attending school. Please see waiving with Medicaid for more information.
  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans without coverage where the student is attending school or an “away from home” rider.
  • Catastrophic ("young invincible") plans.
  • For international students, New York State Essential Plan 4. (See below for more information.)

Special Considerations For:

Ithaca Campus Students

The Cayuga Health System runs the only hospital provider in Ithaca as well as many primary and specialty providers in the area, and does not participate with some common health insurance networks, including United Healthcare and Kaiser Permanente. In addition, there are no regularly scheduled public transportation options to other metropolitan areas such as Binghamton and Syracuse. If you plan to waive coverage, please check with your current health insurance provider to ensure you will have adequate coverage in the Ithaca area. You may be required to utilize out-of-network benefits if your insurer does not include Cayuga Health or Cayuga Medical Center as a participating provider or find private transportation to other regional centers, the nearest of which are about an hour's drive from Ithaca.

Some plans do not provide adequate coverage, defined in the blue box above, within a reasonable distance of Cornell's Ithaca campus and will not be accepted for a waiver.

Students with Coverage Under New York State Essential Plans 3 or 4

Effective 5/1/24, the Office of Student Health Benefits will no longer approve Student Health Plan (SHP) waiver or termination of coverage requests from students enrolled in the New York State Essential Plans 3 and 4. All existing SHP waivers and terminations for students enrolled in these plans will expire on 6/30/24 and will not be renewed.

Why are we making this change?

Cornell University requires that all residential students have health insurance that meets certain minimum requirements to ensure that lack of access to healthcare is not a barrier to the success of any student. International students are generally not eligible to waive enrollment in SHP, although certain narrow exceptions apply if students complete a waiver application showing proof of alternate coverage that meets certain requirements.

The Office of Student Health Benefits, in consultation with Cornell’s Office of Global Learning, has determined the New York State Essential Plans 3 and 4 do not provide adequate coverage for international students studying at the Ithaca or NYC Tech campuses to meet the waiver requirements. Specifically, the Essential Plans 3 and 4 do not provide out-of-network coverage, have a narrow geographic coverage focus, and do not offer repatriation benefits.

How will I be affected?

If you previously waived or terminated the SHP coverage using the New York State Essential Plan 3 or 4 coverage and are continuing in the Fall 2024 semester:

  • You will automatically be enrolled in SHP beginning on 7/1/24, unless you complete the waiver process using alternate coverage, as described below.
  • After enrollment in SHP, your fall tuition bill will include a charge for the cost of SHP.
  • If you can provide documentation of alternate coverage with a US-based employer-provided plan that meets university requirements, you may be able to waive or terminate enrollment in SHP, but must contact our office for assistance before the fall waiver deadline of 7/31/24.

If you are graduating on or prior to 6/30/24, you will not be affected by this change.

If you have waived coverage using other New York State Essential Plans 1 or 2, you will not be affected by this change.


Please refer to Weill Cornell’s Student Health Plan Information page.

Cornell Tech in New York City

In-person students at Cornell Tech are required to maintain health coverage, either by enrolling in SHP or, if eligible to waive, showing they have coverage which meets university requirements.

*Depending on the type of enrollment, limited exceptions apply.