Discover Your Benefits

Here's what you need to know - Discover Your Benefits

Columbia University offers a comprehensive benefits package to support your everyday needs and life events. Want to learn more? Now is the time.

You might be surprised to learn how many benefits plans and resources the University provides to you and your family everyday—as well as when the unexpected happens.

Preventive Care Services

Visit the Preventive Care page of the UnitedHealthcare (UHC) website and generate a checklist of preventive services you may consider based on your age and gender. These may include annual wellness exams, flu shots, colorectal screenings, breast cancer screenings, Hepatitis C screenings and more. Discuss this list with your doctor, and then call UHC to find out which services are covered at 100% if you use in-network providers. You can also find coverage information in the Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs).

Without a Primary Care Physician (PCP), your ongoing medical care may become less consistent, efficient and personal. A PCP will get to know you and maintain your health history. They’re also your first line of defense in prevention and your teammate in helping to manage a chronic condition. If you don’t have a primary care doctor, find one within the UHC network by using UHC’s directory.

You haven’t missed your shot!

Ask your doctor about catch-up immunizations that you may have missed, or others that require adult boosters. Your Columbia benefits cover preventive vaccines.

  • Get a preventive health screening to check important physical characteristics such as your blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index
  • Check that you and your family are up to date on vaccinations
  • Don’t ignore your teeth – dental hygiene is connected to the health of the rest of your body
  • Get an annual flu shot, free through Columbia Health

What Preventive Health Screenings May be Best to Consider:

  • Am I at risk for heart disease?
  • What screening tests make sense for me?
  • Should I consider genetic testing to find out risk factors?

Get a free screening at the Benefits Expo

Monthly eCards

Connect with the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Call an EAP specialist 24/7 at 1-888-673-1153 (TTY: 711) who will help you with… 

  • Confidential counseling. Don’t suffer in silence. Receive up to three free counseling sessions over the phone from licensed Master’s or Ph.D.-level mental health and substance abuse professionals for stress, anxiety, relationships and other issues.
  • Work-Life Balance. Consider asking the EAP for research and referrals for child care, adult/elder care, travel, pet care, movers, restaurants and more.
  • Identity protection. The EAP offers an ID Theft Emergency Response kit, as well as a 60-minute consultation with an expert fraud resolution specialist who can help you reclaim your identity, dispute fraudulent activity and take steps to restore your credit.
  • Financial and legal services. Beginning January 1, 2019, take advantage of free 30-minute consultations with attorneys, CPAs, mediators and financial counselors. If you decide to use their services after the initial call, you’ll get a 25% discount.*

    *Legal services provided by Humana, the University's EAP provider.

Speak with a LifeCoach at 1-855-290-2655 for help achieving work-life balance, managing your finances, adopting healthy habits, getting organized and more. Unlimited coaching sessions are available via phone, email or online chat. Coaches are available for scheduled appointments Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.

EAP website: View a wide range of information on topics such as low-maintenance investing, relaxation techniques, bicycle safety, strengthening family bonds, Empty Nest Syndrome and pet health. You will need to log in with:

Username: columbia
Password: eap

What could you achieve if you had a LifeCoach?

Find out! Reach a LifeCoach at 1-855-290-2655 to tackle your personal and professional goals. 


Your Columbia Benefits include discounts on healthcare, entertainment, everyday expenses and more.


To assist and support your ongoing wellbeing, if you are enrolled in the Aetna dental plan, Columbia University provides wellness resources, including discounts on:

  • Blood pressure monitors and certain exercise and yoga equipment
  • Personal trainers, health coaches and weight management programs
  • Gym memberships, nutrition counseling, massage and other therapies
  • Vitamins and other nutritional supplements
  • Designer eyeglass frames, prescription/non-prescription sunglasses, non-disposable contact lenses and Lasik laser eye surgery

Find more information on discounts provided through the Aetna Dental plan through the secure member website at

You can also check out the Wellness tab on the Columbia Office of Work/Life website for more discounts relating to gym memberships and nutrition.

Travel and Entertainment

Looking for a weekend getaway, day trip or great entertainment nearby? Discounts on cultural events, hotel rooms and car rentals can be found on the Columbia University Discounts webpage. Use the code CUMC for discounts through Tickets at Work.  

Consider getting a New York Public Library card to gain free admission into museums in and around New York. Columbia University Libraries offer free NYPL on-site library card registration in Butler Library every fall, but you can also get one at the Morningside NYPL branch at Broadway and 114th Street.

Did you know you can get help with pre-trip reminders as well as advice and emergency support while you’re traveling? Learn more about Cigna Secure Travel.


No matter what type of wheels get you to and from work, Columbia has discounts to ease the expense of commuting. Check the Columbia Transportation webpage for details or call 1-212-854-3382.

Everyday Expenses

Wish you could shave a bit off your monthly cable and telephone bills? AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile all offer discounts and special offers to Columbia employees. Learn more on the Columbia Discounts webpage.


Kick off your summer with a…skin check.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S.  A screening by a dermatologist can help spot issues early, preventing this disease or catching it at an early stage.

Your dermatologist visit will either be covered with a copay if you’re in a Choice Plus plan, or it will count toward your annual deductible and then covered with coinsurance if you are in the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP).

Let your doctor know if you notice anything out of the ordinary, such as:

  • Spots or moles that change, itch or bleed
  • New spots or moles

Also make your doctor aware of:

  • Past severe sunburns, especially during childhood
  • A personal or family history of skin cancer
  • Artificial sunlight exposure, such as use of tanning beds

More than Skin Deep

Skin cancer that is recognized and treated early is often curable. Left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body and become more serious and difficult to treat.

Not all sunscreens are created equal.

When you reach for sunscreen, look for:

  • SPF 15 or higher
  • Avobenzone, zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide
  • Water resistance
  • Broad-spectrum coverage (blocks ultraviolet A and B rays)

In general, sunscreens with at least SPF 30 are reimbursable through a Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). For specifics, go to or call 1-800-232-9357. For information on sunscreen ratings, check out the Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s Sunscreen Guide.

QUICK TIP: Sunscreen expires!

Toss anything you’ve had for over 2 years.

Are your allergies in bloom?

  • Don’t let allergies spoil your summer. See a doctor to get tested for your triggers. Your Columbia medical plan covers allergy testing
  • Consider allergen-proof pillows; the difference in cost between regular and allergen-proof pillows can be reimbursed from a Healthcare FSA or HSA when your doctor deems them medically necessary.
  • Wear oversized sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes on windy days. The cost of prescription sunglasses can be paid using an HSA or FSA.
  • Plan activities and exercise past sundown when pollen counts are lower

School's Out:

Summer presents new schedules and routines. If your children have allergies, be sure they have access to their medications at camp, on vacation and while traveling.

If you can't take the heat

…you may be suffering from heat exhaustion. Symptoms can include muscle cramps, dizziness, headache, confusion, excessive thirst and a weak, rapid pulse.

To avoid overheating when outdoors, wear light colors and lightweight clothing, take breaks in the shade and make sure you stay hydrated—especially if you are engaged in sports or other physical activities.  

If you or someone else appears to have heat exhaustion, spray yourself or them with cool water and seek out an air-conditioned space. If there’s no improvement within an hour, call 911 and seek emergency medical treatment.

Hot Tip for Keeping Cool

It takes 7 to 10 days for your body to adapt to a change in temperature. Don’t save your hardest workout for the hottest day of summer!