Loss of Health Insurance

Last reviewed: 1/4/2023

Students and/or their eligible dependents, involuntarily losing their health insurance coverage provided by a non-Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan may petition for enrollment in The Columbia Plan by submitting a Qualifying Life Event (QLE) Petition through the Patient Portal via downloadable forms.

If enrollment in The Columbia Plan was waived for the Fall term, the waiver will automatically be extended to the Spring term unless a QLE occurs that warrants enrollment. Examples of a QLE are:

  • Termination of insurance coverage under a partner’s or employer’s benefit plan
  • Surpassing the maximum age for coverage as a dependent under a parent's plan

Joining the Columbia Plan

Students have 60 days from the Qualifying Life Event to file a Petition to Enroll with the Student Insurance Office. Students must upload the following through the Patient Portal via the Downloadable Forms section:

  • the QLE Petition form, and
  • a Proof of Termination letter from their current insurance carrier. The Proof of Termination letter must contain the student's name and the date their coverage terminated.

Students at Jewish Theological SeminaryUnion Theological Seminary, and Columbia University Irving Medical Center must follow their schools' procedures.


Other Coverage Options

Graduating or departing students can pursue health insurance options through employers, state-based health care exchanges, and individual plans directly offered by insurance companies.  Columbia does not endorse and has not verified the coverage offered by employers, state-based health care exchanges, or individual plans directly offered by insurance companies. Individuals are encouraged to carefully review all details of any insurance plan before making a selection.

Employer Plans

Most people in the US get their health insurance via an employer-sponsored plan.  If you are eligible, or will become eligible, this may be your best option as most employers cover a part or most of the cost of health insurance premiums. When conducting a job search be sure to look at the insurance plan offerings in addition to salary and other benefits available from a prospective employer.

Exchange Plans

New York offers a robust health care exchange offering medical, dental, and vision plans.  Most people who are unsure of employment potential in the near term or unemployed may find the exchange options the most appropriate. Obtaining insurance through the exchange offers the individual choice over plan options. Premiums are income-based and subsidies to help offset costs may be available.  For many, exchange plans are the lowest cost option to obtain health insurance.  Online: https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov/

If you are not in New York you can find exchange plan options by visiting https://www.healthcare.gov/.

Parent/Guardian Plans

If you are under the age of 26 you may be eligible for coverage under a parent or guardian plan. While this option might work for you and your family, be sure to consider how long you might able to stay on their health insurance plan.  If you will turn 26 before the end of current academic year, this may not be the best option, as you might have to change plans more than once in the next few months.