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Columbia Univeristy Medical Center
   Insurance Referrals
A referral is necessary for any local care outside of the Student Health Service, except routine gyn exams or obstetrical care. Referrals cannot be backdated. Referrals must also be updated each insurance year (August 17), regardless of when they were issued.

Our insurance premiums are low because the clinicians in the SHS care for most acute and chronic illnesses, minor injuries, preventive health care and women's health. Similarly, you are entitled to 10 mental health visits on site at no charge.

If you need care SHS can’t provide, we'll refer you to a doctor or other health care provider who belongs to an Aetna provider network.


You do not need a referral to go to any emergency room, but if the ER doctor refers you to anyone else, you MUST get a referral from the SHS first.

Preventive Care

Preventive services available on-campus must be obtained at CUMC Student Health Services if the student is within 50 miles of CUMC. When services are rendered outside of the 50-mile radius, these services are covered at 100% through a participating Aetna Student Health Provider. For preventive care services not available at Student Health, these services are 100% covered through a participating Aetna Student Health Provider.

Out of the Area

If you receive services more than 50 miles away from CUMC, either on vacation or a rotation, you do NOT need a referral for those services. Be sure to choose an Aetna provider to maximize your benefit. If you are outside of the United States, all providers are considered part of the Aetna network.

Preferred Providers

Aetna’s national network includes family physicians and internists, as well as specialists, hospitals, laboratories and other health care facilities.
  • Go to and click on Students, then find Your School. Your school number is 812835. Click on Columbia University Medical Center and enter DocFind from the menu at the left. You can use DocFind to find doctors or facilities in any area.
Using an Aetna provider saves both you and your fellow students money. You will pay only a $20 co-pay. Members of the network have agreed to accept lower prices than they charge, so the overall costs to the Student Insurance Plan are also substantially lower. This will mean lower premiums for you.

Remember, using preferred providers saves you money because preferred providers agree to accept negotiated fees that may be lower than what non-preferred providers would charge. Also preferred providers do not charge more than the reasonable charge for a given service. The Plan pays benefits for reasonable charges only. If a non-preferred provider charges more than the reasonable charge allowance, you must pay the difference.

Preferred providers are independent contractors and are neither employees nor agents of Columbia University Health Sciences Campus or Aetna.


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