Health Insurance

Effective July 1, 2020, all Columbia University affiliates traveling internationally on Columbia Travel have health insurance for emergent illness and injury while abroad. This insurance is provided at no cost to the traveler via Aetna International. Services and coordination of benefits are initiated by contacting International SOS (ISOS).

For more information regarding Aetna and ISOS services, please click here

All students, employees, and other university affiliates engaged in Columbia Travel outside of their country of residence. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Academic study or research abroad lasting less than 325 consecutive days;
  • International work assignments or trips lasting less than 325 consecutive days; and
  • Locally employed staff member travel to the United States or other country.

Services provided through International SOS (ISOS) and Aetna include primary coverage for all urgent and emergent medical expenses, medical and security evacuations, and repatriations.

At a high level, these benefits also include:

  • A $0 deductible and no out-of-pocket expenses when the traveler contacts International SOS (ISOS) for assistance;
  • Sojourn travel coverage when it occurs before, during, or after Columbia Travel;
  • Outpatient prescription drugs;
  • Family/friend visitation benefits for hospitalizations, to include flight and accommodation expenses;
  • Lost baggage reimbursement (up to $1,000); and
  • Trip interruption reimbursement (up to $2,000).
What is not covered?
  • Routine and preventative care;
  • Non-emergency evacuation; and
  • Expenses incurred during strictly personal travel or travel not related to international Columbia Travel. 

Individuals participating in Columbia-related International Travel should call International SOS (ISOS) at +001-215-942-8478 or use the ISOS mobile app for assistance. 

Aetna coverage is coordinated through ISOS.

The 'certificate of coverage' letter is sometimes required for visa applications and refers to the university's coverage for medical evacuation, repatriation, and repatriation of mortal remains to home country or home campus from any other overseas country for a certain amount for Columbia University travelers going abroad on behalf of the University.

Send an email to with the following information:

  • Name of traveler(s)
  • Date of birth
  • Citizenship
  • Travel Destination(s)
  • Travel Dates
  • Purpose of Travel

If you received medical assistance while abroad, and DID NOT call International SOS for assistance:

  1. Go to Aetna International and go to Member login/Register
  2. Click the Register button
  3. Enter your information:
    • First and last name
    • Your date of birth
    • Choose "Aetna World Traveler Plan Member"
    • Enter CSA: 0299440-016-00166
    • Enter registration key: 10027
  4. Accept the Terms and Conditions
  5. Click the Get Started button
  6. Create your login details:
    • Your email address
    • Create a user name
    • Create a password
    • Select and answer a security question
  7. Click the Continue button
  8. Choose "I need to make or check a claim"
  9. To submit your claim, you will need to provide claim detail and receipts

Going Abroad Longer than Six Months?

Columbia University benefits (such as health insurance and retirement plans) generally continue for Columbia employees who are assigned overseas, and who continue to be paid through the U.S. payroll. Employees who are assigned overseas for six months or longer may be eligible to enroll in the Cigna International Medical Plan, which provides comprehensive health coverage overseas and in the U.S.


Personal Travel

"When you are covered under the Basic Term Life Insurance Plan (from Cigna), you and your eligible dependents are also covered for emergency travel assistance (“Cigna Secure Travel” *) when traveling 100+ miles from home or when traveling in a foreign country for trips up to 180 days. This assistance can be for situations as serious as needing to be evacuated from a foreign country to something as simple as information on visas."  - HR Cigna Secure Travel Program

Please direct any questions regarding health insurance and personal travel coverage under the Cigna Secure Travel program to Human Resources Benefits at, or via phone at 212-851-7000.

For medical benefit questions, please contact HR Benefits via email at, or via phone at 212-851-7000.

If you have any other questions, please email us at