Postdoctoral Fellows - Medical Coverage

NUSS Medical Coverage

The University offers comprehensive medical coverage—including vision and prescription drug coverage—through UnitedHealthcare.

Flu shots are covered at $0 out-of-pocket as part of your preventive benefit. Virtual Visits provides online access to physicians at your convenience.

Medical Plan Coverage

Columbia University offers the Choice Plus 80 plan through UnitedHealthcare (UHC). The Plan covers in-network preventive care, such as annual physicals, immunizations and well-baby visits, at 100% with no deductible. The Choice Plus 80 plan also includes coverage for out-of-network services. If you enroll in the medical plan, you will be automatically enrolled in prescription drug and vision coverage.

Medical Plan Descriptions

The Choice Plus 80 plan covers only medically-necessary services and supplies for the purpose of preventing, diagnosing or treating an acute sickness,injury, mental illness, substance abuse or symptoms. For details on the medical plan options, review the Summary Plan Description (SPD) and Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC).

Important Note on Referrals and Precertification

UHC’s Choice network is a national provider network and does not require a primary care physician or referrals to see specialists. UHC requires precertification for some services. If you use an in-network provider, your participating network physician or hospital generally handles the precertification process. However, it is your responsibility to confirm that your provider has obtained the necessary authorizations from UHC. If you see a provider who is out-of-network, you are responsible for obtaining precertification for most services except routine office visits.

Whenever you are having diagnostic or preventive tests, be sure to ask your physician if he/she is referring you to a provider who is in-network.

View 2022 Medical Plan Summary

View 2021 Medical Plan Summary
 

Important Notes on Referrals 

United Healthcare’s (UHC) Choice network is a national provider network. It does not require a primary care physician or referrals to see specialists. UHC does require precertification for some services. If you use an in-network provider, your participating network physician or hospital generally handles the precertification process. It is your responsibility to confirm your provider has obtained the necessary authorizations from UHC. If you see a provider who is out-of-network, you are responsible for obtaining precertification for most services except routine office visits.

Contributions are the amount you pay toward the cost of your medical, vision and prescription drug (“Rx”) coverage through Employee Benefits Plan Administration (EBPA).

2022 Monthly Contributions for Medical, Vision & Rx (Full-time)

2021 Monthly Contributions for Medical, Vision & Rx (Full-time)

Billing Information

After your elections have been processed, EBPA, the University’s third party billing administrator, will mail you billing statements (also called coupons) for your medical and/or dental contributions through the end of the calendar year. You are responsible for remitting payment to EBPA promptly, as instructed on the statements.

Note: If payment is not received by the stated deadline, your benefits will be terminated due to non-payment. Your contribution is $44 per month in 2022 ($40 per month in 2021), with your fellowship allowance or training grant expense account and departmental or other unrestricted funds available to the Principal Investigator covering the remainder of the cost ($1,279 for 2022 and $1,153 for 2021). Up to 75% of your fellowship or training grant may be used by your department or PI to pay for the departmental/PI share of the costs.

Per IRS regulations, contributions made by your fellowship allowance, training grant expense account, department or Principal Investigator, are considered imputed income. Imputed income means you pay taxes on the cost or value of the benefits. Imputed income will be reported annually on your 1099, or quarterly on your paychecks if you have W-2 earnings.

Same-Sex Domestic Partner Credit

Federal income tax rules require that your contributions toward the coverage of a same-sex domestic partner be deducted from your pay on an after-tax basis. In addition, University contributions toward the total cost of coverage for your same-sex domestic partner are taxable to you. To assist with this tax burden, if you are eligible for same-sex domestic partner medical coverage and you elect coverage, Columbia will provide a credit of $1,000 per year ($41.67 two times per month), beginning the pay period following the effective date of your election.

With the Choice Plus 80 medical plan, you have the flexibility to use in-network or out-of-network providers each time you seek care. However, you can minimize your out-of-pocket expenses by using in-network providers.

In-Network Coverage

When you use UHC network providers, you pay a $30 copay for physician office visits (including specialists and urgent care). Preventive care is covered at 100%. The deductible, coinsurance and all medical and prescription drug copays accumulate toward your annual out-of-pocket maximum.

Other than preventive care and copays, for most in-network medical services you must meet an annual deductible of $500 per member before the Choice Plus 80 plan pays the coinsurance of 80% of the negotiated fee; you are responsible for the remaining 20% of the coinsurance. After you reach the in-network out-of-pocket maximum of $3,750 for an individual and $7,500 for a family, the Plan pays 100% of covered in-network medical charges and prescription drug copays for the remainder of the calendar year.

Whenever you are having diagnostic or preventive tests, be sure to ask your physician if he/she is referring you to a provider who is in-network.

Out of Network Coverage

Out-of-network services are subject to the out-of-network deductible and out-of-pocket maximum. You can use out-of-network providers for preventive services, subject to a separate deductible and coinsurance.

You are responsible for obtaining precertifications from UHC before most non-office visit treatment begins, and within 48 hours of an emergency hospital admission. If you do not obtain precertification, you will be subject to a $500 penalty.

Eligible expenses are determined in accordance with the Claims Administrator's reimbursement policy. For more information, contact UHC at 800-232-9357.

If you are traveling out of the country, travel vaccinations will be covered under the medical plan (deductible and coinsurance will apply).

Columbia University faculty and staff traveling outside the U.S. for Columbia Travel for less than 6 months automatically have health insurance coverage through Zurich Travel Assist.

Administered in conjunction with International SOS (ISOS), Zurich Travel Assist provides full coverage for illness and injury that occur while abroad. Medically-necessary services are covered at no cost if ISOS is contacted for assistance before a patient is treated. 

Zurich Travel Assist health coverage is coordinated through ISOS. In the event of an emergency while traveling outside of the U.S. for Columbia Travel, call ISOS at +1-215-942-8478 or use the ISOS mobile app.

For more information, go to CU Global Travel.

In the event of an emergency, if on Columbia business abroad, call International SOS: 215-942-8478.

If you travel 100 miles or more from home or abroad and need assistance, go to Emergency Travel Assistance.

Information Notice

ID Card

UHC ID cards have member information for medical, vision, and prescription drug coverage. You do not need separate cards for each benefit. After enrolling in a medical plan, it can take three weeks for a UHC ID card to arrive in your mail. If necessary, you can print a temporary UHC ID card two weeks after enrolling. Create an account on myuhc.com to print a temporary ID card. Use your Social Security Number, date of birth, and Group number 712790.