Virtual Visits

Talk to a doctors via Virtual Visits

The health and well-being of all Columbia University employees is of the utmost importance. We want to support you in every way possible during the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

A Virtual Visit lets you talk with a doctor via computer or mobile device anytime, day or night, 24/7. Virtual Visits are ideal for diagnosing and treating non-emergency issues, from fevers to colds and allergies. You can also ask questions about COVID-19 and be screened to determine if you should go to an in-person facility.

Copays for Virtual Visits from April 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020 will be waived. Because this benefit goes into effect April 1, 2020, if you have a visit on or before March 31, 2020, there will be no refunds for copays.  

Using Virtual Visits

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 (coronavirus), contact your primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider or wish to connect with another medical professional while at home, Virtual Visits are ideal for asking questions. 

Doctors participating in Virtual Visits can evaluate your risk and help with next steps, such as recommending you go to an in-person facility, if necessary. If you have a different illness, Virtual Visits doctors can provide support to help relieve your symptoms.

If you participate in a University medical plan, there will be no cost to you for approved COVID-19 diagnostic testing. UHC will cover provider visits for COVID-19 the same way it covers other provider visits. 


Optum’s Emotional-Support Help Line is available to anyone experiencing anxiety or stress related to COVID-19 or any other topic. 

  • Free
  • Call 866-342-6892, 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Open to anyone

All employees, including those who don't have medical benefits through the University, can use NYP OnDemand to visit with a board-certified, emergency medicine physician from Columbia or Weill Cornell Medicine. Out-of-Pocket Cost: $0 (2-visit maximum through April 30, 2020). Details on this page. 


The University’s COVID-19 guidance page includes recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updates, campus resources and additional information.

A Virtual Visit is a direct communication between you and a doctor or other medical professional, via video. Most visits last 10-15 minutes and doctors can write a prescription*, if needed, that you can pick up at your local pharmacy. Virtual Visits are part of your benefits through UnitedHealthcare, the University’s medical insurance provider.

Virtual Visits connect you with help for medical and emotional/mental health issues.

  • 24/7 medical appointments.
  • No traveling to the doctor’s office or sitting in a waiting room.
  • Confidential in accordance with the law.

If you have medical benefits through the University, you have coverage for Virtual Visits when:

  • You use one of the provider groups in the Virtual Visits network.
  • You’re getting care for certain non-emergency medical conditions (flu, colds, pinkeye, rashes and fevers).

Estimated Out-of-Pocket Cost: $30 (Copays for Virtual Visits from April 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020 will be waived. No refunds will be provided for visits on or before March 31, 2020.).  


You do not need to have medical benefits through the University to access NYP OnDemand, virtual visit urgent care, detailed on this page.

Out-of-Pocket Cost: $0 (2-visit maximum through April 30, 2020).

*Certain prescriptions may not be available, and other restrictions may apply.

There are many reasons and ways to take advantage of the Virtual Visits benefit.

Medical Visits

Use your mobile device to talk with a doctor, get a diagnosis and prescription.* 

If you have medical benefits through the University, we encourage you to g​​​​o to the Getting Started section of this page to learn how to register for Virtual Visits before you require medical information or care. 

Mental and/or Behavioral Health Visits

Whether or not you have medical benefits through the University, employees can connect with a clinician who can evaluate and treat general mental health conditions and prescribe medications.* Locate providers through Live and Work Well’s provider search. You can also schedule appointments online. 

Optum’s Emotional-Support Help Line is available to anyone experiencing anxiety or stress related to COVID-19 or any other topic. 

  • Free 
  • Call 866-342-6892, 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Open to anyone 

Support for substance use disorder: Connect via web-based chat through Live and Work Well. You can also call to speak with a recovery advocate 24/7 by calling 855-780-5955.

Online Resources

Explore tools on LiveandWorkWell.com such as articles, videos and self-help programs.

You can also download apps, such as TalkSpace, a digital platform created to be a convenient and affordable way to connect with a licensed therapist from the privacy of your phone, laptop or tablet. Contact your therapist by text, voice, picture or video whenever something comes up. Your Talkspace “room” is available 24/7 (therapists respond during their regular work hours) so you never have to wait to share what’s on your mind. 

*As needed and as per state law.

NYP OnDemand is a virtual urgent care service available to all University employees, regardless of insurance coverage. Through NYP OnDemand you can connect virtually with a board-certified, emergency medicine physician from Columbia or Weill Cornell Medicine.

Out-of-Pocket Cost: $0 (2-visit maximum through April 30, 2020).

How to use NYP OnDemand: 

You will be able to use this code two (2) times through April 30, 2020.

Before you require medical information or care:
  1. Log in to myUHC.com.
    • If you need to reset your password; click the GO TO MY DASHBOARD button, then follow next steps
  2. Search for Virtual Visits.
  3. Click the GET STARTED button.
  4. Complete Virtual Visit Registration form.
  5. Click UPDATE MEDICAL HISTORY, then complete medical history form anytime before your first Virtual Visit.
     
When you require medical information or care:
  1. Log in to myUHC.com.
  2. Search for Virtual Visits.
  3. Click the GET STARTED button.
  4. Click the REQUEST A VISIT button.
    • If you have not updated your medical history or billing information, you will be asked to do so now.
  5. After your Virtual Visit is requested, you will be in a virtual waiting room. Given high demand, expect wait times of 20-minutes or more. Some virtual vendors have a call back feature so you do not have to wait on hold.