Temporary health insurance at Columbia?

Originally Published: January 17, 1997 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: February 25, 2011
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Dear Alice,

Does Columbia have available a temporary health insurance plan for graduates not yet employed? If not, do you have any specific recommendation as to where catastrophic illness insurance can be purchased?

Dear Reader,

Yes, Columbia's Student Medical Insurance Plan offers a continuation plan to those students who were enrolled in the plan in their final term as a registered student, and have graduated or are otherwise ineligible to continue the student plan. The continuation plan can serve as transitional health insurance for the student and his or her dependents until s/he is employed or matriculated at another academic institution. The student may continue his or her coverage for a period of up to twelve months. If you are not on Columbia's insurance, check with your insurance company for their continuation options and check out Health insurance options after college from the related Q&A below.

Keep in mind that the Columbia Student Medical Insurance Plan, offered by Columbia University and administered by Aetna Student Health, ends on August 31 for most graduates. (If you are completing your studies in December, your coverage will end earlier — see Health Services' Period of Coverage for information.) To enroll in continuation coverage, you must sign up and pay the entire premium within 45 days of the expiration of coverage under the Student Medical Insurance Plan. Enrollment applications are available through the Aetna website.

There are different options for the Continuation Plan ranging from 3-12 months of coverage. Put some consideration into your selection: once you select a period of continuation coverage, you cannot make a change or extend the period further.

For continuation rates, or for more information, see the Continuation Plan page on the Health Services website. Check out the related Q&A for more information about insurance coverage and your health care. Best of luck!