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Health Information

The U.S. health care system is probably very different from the one in your own country. Students in the Fall and Spring intensive programs and those who register for 8 weeks or more in Summer must pay the Health Services Fee and must have University Medical Insurance.

All students must also follow Columbia University immunization requirements.

Health Insurance and Health Services Fee

There is no national health care system here that the government pays for. Without health insurance, costs can be very, very expensive. The Health Services Fee allows students to see a nurse or doctor at the Health Services Office on campus for free. Medical Insurance helps pay for visits to specialists off campus (outside of Columbia Health), for hospital stays, and for prescription drugs.

If you need to see a doctor, you can go to Columbia Health Medical Services in John Jay Hall. You do not need to pay; the Health Services fee covers the cost. You can make an appointment or walk in. In the U.S., people only go to the hospital when they have an emergency. The Emergency Room is a very expensive way to see a doctor. So if it's not an emergency, go to Columbia Health Medical Services first. They will tell you if you need to see a specialist (a doctor who can help with particular problems) or get other help.

The Columbia University health insurance plan is managed by Aetna Student Health. For more information on benefits and claims, go to

All ALP students studying for eight weeks or more are required to have Columbia Medical Insurance and pay the Columbia Health Fee. This includes: Fall and Spring Intensive; Summer A+B, B+C, A+C, A+B+C, Advanced Academic Preparation.

Students studying fewer than 8 weeks do not need to have Columbia Medical Insurance or pay the Columbia Health Fee. This includes: Winter Institute, Summer A only, B only, or C only, EPP courses.

It is not possible to waive (= not pay) the insurance charge and health fee.

For more information about the Columbia Insurance plan visit:

Charges for health services and insurance are automatically added to each student’s bill at registration. Students in the Spring intensive program will be charged for eight months of coverage.

Please note that insurance charges added at registration are considered due when they are added.

Immunization Requirements

Students in the ALP must follow the Health Services office’s rules for immunization (immunization = vaccinations against sickness and disease).

All students are required to submit proof of vaccination against covid-19.

All students are required to complete the Health Services MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) form, located here. If you have already had these vaccinations at home or in the US, then bring medical records to show this. You will not need to be immunized again if you can show you had the vaccinations. If you have not, you can make an appointment at Columbia Health for vaccinations.

Please submit the MMR form to the Health Services office directly. The form shows you how to do this. You must be compliant (compliant = you have followed the rules) 30 days prior to the start of your ALP program. If you are not compliant, there could be a hold on your Columbia account. This means you will not be able to register in classes and begin your studies with us.

Please see for further information.

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