Travel Medicine

Last reviewed: 5/4/2023

CU On The Road Program 

Note: Certain routine vaccines that are required for travel to certain countries can be scheduled with a Registered Nurse at Medical Services.   

Jump to the Alternatives section for options outside Medical Services.


 

Columbia Health offers CU on the Road, an international travel assessment available for free to students who have paid the full-time Columbia Health and Related Services Fee.

This includes:

  • Recommendations for immunizations
  • Vaccinations

Travel assessments are available by appointment only and a limited number of appointments are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

How to schedule a travel assessment

Email Medical Services at [email protected]. Appointments are scheduled with a provider who will review your travel itinerary and a nurse who will administer recommended vaccines.

We recommend that the initial assessment be set up well in advance of the departure date, as some vaccinations may require six weeks to several months and multiple visits to complete the series. Please make an appointment at the same time you reserve the tickets for your trip.

For updated travel alerts and precautionary measures related to COVID-19, Zika virus, malaria, dengue, chikungunya, MERS, or Ebola, be sure to visit the Centers for Disease Control travel information website.

    Faculty and staff traveling outside of the U.S. should contact the Columbia Benefits Service Center to find out about benefits coverage.

    Prior to Your Assessment

    • Complete the online questionnaire or respond to the email questionnaire sent to students after they make an appointment.
    • Collect as much information regarding immunization history and have it available. Original documents are not necessary.

    Prescriptions

    Students traveling overseas for an extended period should plan in advance for prescription medication needs, as most insurance plans only allow for a 30-day supply of prescription medications. Students insured under the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan should contact Aetna Student Health to request approval for a medication supply (often called “vacation override”) adequate to meet their travel needs. Students who carry other insurance plans should contact their carrier for more information.

    Vaccinations

    We recommend that the initial assessment be set up well in advance of the departure date, as some vaccinations may require six weeks to several months and multiple visits to complete the series. Please make an appointment at the same time you reserve the tickets for your trip.

    Jump down to the Costs section for information about potential costs.

    Cancelling or Rescheduling an Appointment

    • Travel assessments are in high demand. As a courtesy to other travelers, students should contact us immediately if they cannot make the scheduled telephone assessment or follow-up appointments.
    • If students do not cancel a scheduled assessment at least 48 hours in advance, they will not be able to schedule another appointment within the same semester. Please keep in mind that students will be responsible for all associated costs.

    Health Insurance

    Many travelers may need to purchase additional insurance from companies specifically designed to meet these needs. Students should ask their insurance providers if medical evacuation is included.

    Students enrolled in the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan have travel insurance benefits provided by On Call International.

    While You’re Away

    When you are away from Columbia and unable to come to Medical Services for an evaluation, you should call or send a secure web message directly to your primary care provider. That way, we are aware of your problem and can prepare a referral for you if necessary.

    If it is an urgent problem, you can be seen in the emergency room or an urgent care center without a referral.

    Travel Assessment Alternatives

    The following are additional places you may want to try. Please contact them first as facilities may have changed their services in light of public health concerns.

    Cost

    Doctor visit

    On-campus with Medical Services: No cost if you have paid the full-time Health and Related Services Fee.

    Off-campus: If you receive your travel assessment off-campus, expect to pay a medical visit co-pay and a referral may be required.

    • Students on the Columbia Plan: Please find a provider using Aetna DocFind to minimize your out-of-pocket costs.
    • Students on other insurance: Please check if any of the above providers take your insurance. If you would prefer a different provider, please make an appointment with a convenient, in-network provider to lower costs. 

    Vaccines

    Students on the Columbia Plan: Travel vaccines (Yellow fever, Japanese Encephalitis, Polio, Typhoid, meningococcal ACWY, and meningococcal B) are covered by the Plan. 

    • If you receive the above travel vaccines on campus, you will not be charged. You may be charged for other vaccines.
    • If you receive travel vaccines from an external provider, you may be charged by the provider. Please submit a reimbursement claim on the Aetna website for possible reimbursement.

    Have a question about a specific vaccine? Please contact Aetna directly at 1-800-859-8471 or online.

    Students on other insurance: Please contact your insurance plan provider for information about coverage.

    • If you receive travel vaccines on campus, you will be charged for the vaccines. Current travel vaccine prices are available on our Service Fees page.
    • If you receive travel vaccines from an external provider, you may be charged by the provider. 

     

    Thank you and safe travels.