Benefits Open Enrollment: What's New for Postdoctoral Fellows

What's New In 2024

All New Benefits

Updates to Benefits

Aetna Dental PPO Maximums

Annual maximums will increase for dental services and new lifetime maximums will increase for orthodontia. Learn more.

Child Care Benefit

The Child Care Benefit will increase to up to $5,000 per year for eligible Postdoctoral Fellows effective January 1, 2024. Learn more.

Columbia University is committed to sponsoring health care benefits that meet the needs of you and your dependents. The changes you make when you enroll will go into effect from January 1 through December 31, 2024, or the last day of the month you transition to a status that is ineligible for coverage.

Compare Plans & Evaluate Costs

Compare Vision Plans

All Postdoctoral Fellows and their covered dependents enrolled in any of the University’s medical plans are covered by a basic vision benefit through UnitedHealthcare (UHC). This embedded plan provides coverage for eye exams, corrective lenses, frames and contact lenses.

Optional Vision Plan
For enhanced vision benefits, Postdoctoral Fellows can elect to purchase optional UHC vision coverage in place of the basic vision coverage for themselves and their covered dependents. You do not have to be enrolled in a medical plan to purchase this coverage.

Medical Costs

Contributions are the amount you pay toward the cost of medical (includes prescription drugs and basic vision), dental, and optional vision coverage.

2024 Monthly Medical Contributions for Postdoctoral Fellows

Dental & Optional Vision Costs

Vision Costs

Basic vision coverage is included in medical costs. All Postdoctoral Fellows and their covered dependents who participate in any of Columbia’s medical plans are covered by a basic vision benefit. Learn more.

2024 Monthly Optional UHC Vision Contributions

Dental Costs

The University offers two comprehensive dental plans: Aetna Columbia Dental Plan (PPO) and Aetna Dental Maintenance Organization (DMO). These two plans have the same range of services but differing costs depending on the providers you see and the Plan you select. Learn more.

2024 Monthly Dental Contributions

Enrollment Information


Columbia Benefits Service Center


[email protected]

Open Enrollment Hours:

Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

What Happens If I Don't Enroll

Choose your coverage:

  • Required Health Insurance: Columbia University requires full-time Postdoctoral Clinical and Research Fellows to carry health insurance. If you choose not to enroll in the University plan, you will need to complete the attestation form on CUBES to attest that you have a comparable non-University health plan.
  • Child Care Benefit: Eligible Postdoctoral Fellows must re-enroll every year in the Child Care Benefit in order to receive a contribution from the University.

You will not be automatically re-enrolled in your current year benefits:

  • Qualified Life Status Change: If you do not enroll during Open Enrollment, you must wait until next year’s Open Enrollment to enroll or make changes to your benefits—unless you experience a Qualified Life Status Change. If you experience a Qualified Life Status Change event, such as marriage or divorce, birth or adoption of a child, you have 31 days from the eligible event to make updates in CUBES. For additional information, including a list of Qualified Life Status Change events, go to Making Changes to Benefits.

How to Enroll in Benefits

The Columbia University Benefits Enrollment System (CUBES) gives you secure access to personalized information about your benefits. CUBES is available 24/7 to enroll online anytime from anywhere during the annual benefits Open Enrollment period.

  1. Go CUBES to Enroll
  2. Log in with your UNI and password
  3. Confirm access using multifactor authentication (DUO).

    Note: You must enroll in your 2024 benefits by November 17, 2023.

    Remember: The choices you make during Open Enrollment will stay in effect all year—unless you experience a Qualified Life Status Change

  4. Select "Get Started" to make your elections.
  5. Be sure to "Checkout" in order to save and submit your elections.


The Benefits Brochure and Open Enrollment website summarize changes to the benefits programs that are available to benefits-eligible employees of Columbia University. This communication is intended to be a Summary of Material Modifications (SMM) to the Medical Plans and other benefits programs. It does not include important information about exclusions and limitations.

For additional details of benefits coverage, eligibility, limitations and exclusions, you must refer to the Summary Plan Description (SPD) and the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC). You may also want to request to receive a paper copy of an SPD, SBC or SMM by contacting the Columbia Benefits Service Center at 212-851-7000.

As a requirement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Columbia University must provide a SBC to all participants and their dependents. The SBC is designed to provide you with an easy-to-understand summary about a health plan’s benefits and coverage and to help you better understand and evaluate your health insurance choices. You are entitled to receive these Plan documents under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). You also have other important rights and protections under ERISA, which are explained in more detail in the SPDs.

If there are any discrepancies between the information in the Brochure publication, website, or verbal representations and the Plan documents, the Plan documents will always govern. Columbia University reserves the right to change or terminate these benefits Plans at any time. The Brochure publication and website are in no way intended to imply a contract of employment. The Columbia University Group Benefit Plan (the “Plan”) complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex.


Your Benefits

Columbia University offers a range of benefits to help you and your dependents stay healthy, build long-term financial security, meet educational and professional goals, and more. Explore your options for health coverage, tax savings, life insurance, and voluntary benefits.