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Health Care

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Cornell’s comprehensive healthcare plans for the Cornell Ithaca, Cooperative Extension, and Cornell Tech campuses provide quality care focused on healthy living and low cost.

Quick Facts

  • Cornell manages two types of healthcare programs, contract college and endowed. Job position funding and employment status determine which program is available to an employee.
    • If you are uncertain of your eligibility status for these benefit, please contact your HR representative to review.
  • Cost-free counseling through both an internal and an external employee assistance program

Contract College Plans

  1. Medical insurance plans with prescription drug coverage

    The Contract College health benefits are provided by the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP). You may choose from two options: The Empire Plan or a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) in your geographic area that has been approved for participation in NYSHIP.

    All medical insurance plans include prescription drug coverage.

  2. Dental insurance plan

    The State of New York pays the full cost of this coverage, but you must enroll to participate in the dental plan. You do not have to enroll in  medical insurance to have the dental plan. Coverage is provided through EmblemHealth (formerly GHI). Benefits are paid according to a schedule of allowable charges and are subject to an annual deductible.

    Looking for dental providers? Access NYSHIP Online.

  3. Vision insurance plan

    NYSHIP does not have a vision insurance plan available to Contract College employees at Cornell. Therefore, routine eye exams and materials are not standardly covered expenses. However, some limited eye care coverage for medically related visits and/or routine eye exams may be offered through your NYSHIP medical coverage. Please review your plan booklet for coverage details and exclusions.


Endowed Plans

  1. Medical insurance plans with prescription drug coverage

    Cornell offers three medical plan choices as part of the endowed benefits.

    • Aetna Cornell Program for Health Living (CPHL)
    • Aetna High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a Health Savings Account (HSA)
    • Aetna Weill Cornell Medicine PPO (WCM-PPO)
    All medical insurance plans include prescription drug coverage through OptumRx.

  2. Dental insurance plans

    Endowed faculty and staff have two MetLife dental plan choices:  Dental Standard and Dental Plus.  MetLife’s Preferred Dentist program allows you the flexibility to visit a provider in-network or out-of-network. 

  3. Vision insurance plan

    Endowed faculty and staff who enroll in the Davis Vision Plan by MetLife can access care for eye exams, eyeglasses, frames or contact lenses. The network consists of independent, private practice doctors or select retail partners such as VisionWorks and many Walmart locations.


Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act also gives you the option of buying individual health insurance at a marketplace run by each state. Check out the resources below to explore your options.

The information provided by Cornell does not constitute legal advice.