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Wellness Recreation Membership

Wellness Recreation Membership

Members of the Cornell Program for Healthy Living (CPHL) endowed employee health plan may sign up for a CPHL Wellness Recreation Membership free of charge at any time. Cornell Wellness' CPHL Wellness Recreation Membership provides access to all four Fitness Centers on campus, group exercise classes, pools, and more.


Benefits-eligible endowed employees enrolled in the Cornell Program for Healthy Living (CPHL) health plan may sign up for a CPHL Wellness Recreation Membership free of charge at any time.​ ​

  • IF SPOUSE/PARTNER IS A BENEFITS-ELIGIBLE CORNELL EMPLOYEE: If you are covering your spouse/partner as a family member under CPHL and the spouse/partner is a benefits-eligible Cornell employee, the spouse/partner will also be eligible for a CPHL Wellness Recreation Membership at no charge. The spouse/partner will be required to submit a copy of their Aetna CPHL ID card listing them as a dependent.

  • IF SPOUSE/PARNER IS NOT A BENEFITS-ELIGIBLE CORNELL EMPLOYEE: Spouses/partners who are not benefits-eligible Cornell employees may purchase a Wellness Recreation Membership, however they must pay the membership fee.

Sign up

Apply for a Wellness Recreation Membership; you will need to submit a copy of your Aetna CPHL ID card as proof of CPHL participation. If you don’t have an insurance ID card yet, you can still sign up; you’ll just need to provide proof of insurance once the Aetna CPHL ID card is received.

Existing Wellness Recreation Membership

Employees who enroll in CPHL and wish to update their membership to a CPHL Wellness Recreation Membership can contact Cornell Wellness by email or via phone (607) 255-5133 to start receiving their membership at no charge. 

  • Membership changes, including stopping or reimbursing membership fees, will only be made from the date the employee communicates the change directly with Cornell Wellness via email or phone (see above.)
  • REIMBURSEMENT: Membership fees paid prior to notifying Cornell Wellness of the insurance change will not be reimbursed.
  • PROOF OF CPHL ENROLLMENT: You will also need to submit a copy of your Aetna CPHL ID card as proof of enrollment.


You have the option of canceling your CPHL Wellness Recreation Membership at any time without penalty. Otherwise, your CPHL Wellness Recreation Membership will continue while you are a participating CPHL member.


I just enrolled in CPHL, but I don’t have my insurance card yet. Can I still sign up for a CPHL Wellness Membership?

Yes! You can sign up for your CPHL Wellness Recreation membership and begin receiving a no cost membership as of the date you inform Cornell Wellness. When you receive your insurance card, please send Cornell Wellness a copy or image of the card as proof of participation in the CPHL plan.

At open enrollment in November, I changed my insurance to CPHL, which starts Jan 1. Can I start my CPHL Wellness Membership right away or do I have to wait until January?

Your CPHL Wellness Recreation Membership doesn’t start until the first day of your CPHL participation, in this case, January 1. However, if you are enthusiastic and want to get started before that, you can pay the prorated Wellness membership fee and get your membership started now.

I already have a Wellness Recreation Membership and recently enrolled in CPHL. I thought once I enrolled in CPHL, my membership would automatically be changed to the CPHL Wellness Recreation Membership. Why am I still being charged?

It is the responsibility of the employee/wellness member to let Cornell Wellness know of this change through emailing Wellness or calling Wellness' administrative assistant at (607-255-5133). Once we hear from you that you are now participating with CPHL, we will change your membership type in our system and stop or reimburse any membership fee moving forward.

I’ve been a wellness member for many years and I pay via payroll deduction. I enrolled in CPHL three months ago and just realized that I’ve still been paying for my membership for the last three months. Can I be reimbursed?

Unfortunately, no. Cornell Wellness will reimburse you for any future membership payment once you communicate with us that you have started participating with CPHL. We won’t reimburse you for any membership fee payment prior to the time that you have made us aware of this change.

Can I be reimbursed for the optional fitness benefit at multiple locations?

Sorry, that is not an option. This optional fitness benefit is available for use at one location only: Cornell Wellness, Island Health and Fitness or the Ithaca YMCA.

I want to be fiscally responsible on behalf of Cornell University. Can I cancel my CPHL membership in the summer when I am active outside, then rejoin later in the fall?

Absolutely! Cornell Wellness encourages you to cancel your CPHL Wellness Recreation Membership at any time, without penalty, if you find you are not utilizing the membership. We would gladly welcome you back as a CPHL Wellness Recreation Membership when you are wanting to utilize any of our membership perks.

Why is the CPHL Wellness Recreation Membership at no charge, but the other locations are $15 off per monthly membership fee?

The annual Cornell Recreation Membership fee is $175, which breaks down to $15 per month. The optional fitness benefit is the same at all locations at a discount of $15 off per monthly membership fee.

Optional Fitness Benefit

Cornell employees who participate in CPHL have an optional fitness benefit as part of their insurance coverage and can receive $15 off monthly membership fees at one of these three local fitness providers: 

Check directly with the facilities regarding membership and fees.

While every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of this Summary, in the event of any discrepancy the Summary Plan Description and Plan Document will prevail.