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Insurance for International Travelers

Visit Pandemic Travel Policy, Guidelines, and Recommendations for current Cornell travel information. Visit Cornell's COVID-19 Response for campus-wide information.

Cornell has you covered! Announcing new, no-cost insurance for travelers on Cornell-related business that covers accidents, sickness, and emergency care.

Effective July 1, 2020, all registered travelers on Cornell-related international travel are fully covered—at no cost to the traveler—under an accident, sickness, and emergency care insurance plan that works in tandem with our 24/7 travel assistance. In most cases, there is no longer a need to purchase a supplemental plan or verify coverage with your domestic insurance provider.

What is Cornell-related travel?

​Cornell directed or supervised travel:

Travel that is fully supported and supervised by Cornell and for which Cornell exercises oversight such as international Cornell faculty-led courses.

Cornell facilitated or supported travel:

Travel where Cornell oversight is not exercised but, is undertaken to further academic or professional objectives related to Cornell such as an approved exchange program, thoroughly vetted internship, those within absentia status, or study-abroad program. This also includes, but is not limited to, travel that is funded by Cornell, such as travel grants and scholarships undertaken by matriculated students.

For more information, please see Policy 8.5: Risk Management for International Travel.

Who is covered by the insurance?

All students, staff, alumni, volunteers, and faculty, under the age of 85, who have registered their international Cornell travel in the travel registry and are traveling outside of their home country. For non-U.S. citizens, home country is defined as their current country of residence/domicile, for example, a Chinese citizen currently living in Ithaca is covered if they travel to China on Cornell business. A Brazilian citizen currently living in Brazil who decides to remain in Brazil and conduct research is not covered.

Types of coverage:

  • International SOS (ISOS): virtual mental health, evacuations, lost document, medical referrals, travel advice
  • Insurance: accident sickness insurance, medical bills
  • Student Health Plan (SHP): health insurance at 90% reimbursement when not in U.S.
  • Employee Health Plan (EHP): This varies by employee and chosen plan. 

International students, staff, and faculty:

Am I covered? Residing in home country and then traveling in home country
ISOS: No Insurance: No SHP: Yes1 EHP: Check with provider
Am I covered? Residing in home country and then traveling in another country (not U.S.)
ISOS: Yes Insurance: Yes SHP: NA2 EHP: NA
Am I covered? Residing in the U.S. and then traveling in home country
ISOS: Yes3 Insurance: Yes SHP: NA EHP: NA
Am I covered? Residing in the U.S. and then traveling in another country (not home)
ISOS: Yes Insurance: Yes SHP: NA EHP: NA
Am I covered? Residing in the U.S. and traveling in the U.S.
ISOS: No4 Insurance: No SHP: Yes EHP: Yes

U.S. students, staff, and faculty:

Am I covered? Residing in the U.S. and then traveling in another country
ISOS: Yes Insurance: Yes SHP: NA EHP: NA
Am I covered? Residing in the U.S. and traveling in the U.S.
ISOS: No3 Insurance: No SHP: Yes5 EHP: Yes

1 Students must verify coverage with the Student Health Benefits Office
2 SHP continues to provide 90% coverage while abroad. The NA implies SHP is not primary insurance for all covered benefits under the travel medical insurance
3Security evacuations cannot transport a traveler from their home country
4Pre-trip travel advice is available and encouraged for any upcoming international trip
5Or other insurance plan that meets Cornell domestic coverage requirements

What benefits are provided?

This insurance acts as primary (will be used first and supersedes all other medical insurance) coverage for all urgent and emergent medical expenses (including emergency mental health to stabilize patient), medical and security evacuation, medical and security repatriation, repatriation of mortal remains, trip interruption, and lost luggage that occurs during travel outside their country of residence.


  • A $0 deductible and no out-of-pocket expenses* when the traveler contacts ISOS for a medical referral or travel assistance before obtaining treatment and, in most cases, when contacted asap after seeking care
  • 100% sojourn travel if part of the trip is Cornell-related
    • Travelers are covered if they arrive early, take a brief trip during, or remain abroad after the Cornell-related travel.
  • Companion travel or family bed-side reunion travel after one (1) day of hospitalization (one family member)
  • Calendar year plan maximum: $500,000
  • Hospital services: 100%
  • Physician services: 100%
  • Outpatient prescription drugs: 100%
  • No exclusion for pre-existing conditions
  • No exclusion for illness or injury sustained while under the influence
    • Other repercussions may be applied, such as dismissal from a program and JA sanctions.

*Note, while rare, there may be some circumstances where a guarantee of payment will not be possible and some out-of-pocket expenses may be incurred that will be reimbursed later. Travelers should always have recourse to emergency funds.

What medical expenses are not covered?

Coverage does not apply to travelers over the age of 85, dependents, or for trips that last longer than 180 consecutive days or more than 325 travel days in a 12-month period.

Additionally, not covered:

  • Routine care, such as routine wellness, preventative care, physical exams, and gynecological exams
  • Non-emergency evacuation
  • Expenses incurred during personal travel or vacation not related to a Cornell travel trip
  • Routine maternity expenses or birth control (in most cases considered preventative care)
  • Non-emergency mental health and substance abuse expenses
  • Second surgical opinion
  • Home health care or custodial services
  • Health care or evacuation services in the U.S.
    • Exceptions may be granted for evacuation services on a case-by-case basis from U.S. territories.
  • Testing for the purposes of travel (e.g., satisfying the testing required to board a flight to the U.S.)
  • The cost of a non-emergency extended stay due to an inability to board one's flight to the U.S. as a result of a positive test.

How do I use this insurance or file a claim?

Registered travelers should call ISOS 24/7 at 1-215-942-8478 or use the ISOS app to reach a 24/7 assistance center before seeking treatment. ISOS will make a referral, monitor patient progress, and coordinate billing with the medical facility. If the patient or their travel companions can not contact ISOS prior to seeking treatment (i.e., in an emergency), contact should be made as soon as possible to begin the process of coordinated care and to avoid any out-of-pocket expenses. Any claims for out-of-pocket expenses can be filed using the information below.

Submit your claim online by following the below instructions:

  1. Go to Aetna International and go to Member Login/Register
  2. Click the Register button
  3. Enter your information:
    First and last name
    Your date of birth
    Choose "Aetna World Traveler Plan Member"
    Enter CSA: 299440-16-167
    Enter registration key: 20037
  4. Accept the Terms and Conditions
  5. Click the Get Started button
  6. Create your login details:
    Your email address
    Create a user name
    Create a password
    Select and answer a security question
  7. Click the Continue button
  8. Choose "I need to make or check a claim"
  9. To submit your claim, you will need to provide claim detail and receipts

Who do I contact if I have questions about a specific claim or the payment of a claim?

For a medical claim related to an accident or sickness contact Aetna International. Please have the claim submission number available, if you filed your claim online please allow for 7–10 business days for the claim to process in the system prior to calling for a status update.

Aetna International
P.O. Box 981543
El Paso, TX 79998-1543

Why is it essential to register Cornell travel in the Travel Registry?

It is university policy that all international Cornell travel be registered. In an emergency, ISOS will use the registry records to verify a traveler’s eligibility for coverage. A lack of, or inaccurate, registration data can cause delays in care or out-of-pocket expenses until eligibility can be verified.

What is urgent and emergent?

Illness or injury that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly during travel abroad. For example:

Occurs during Cornell travel Covered
Gastrointestinal upset after eating street food Yes
Slip and fall needing medical attention Yes
Allergic reaction Yes
Dengue fever, COVID-19 related hospitalization Yes
Appendicitis, heart attack, stroke, death Yes
Lupus flair-up Yes
Lupus routine care No
Kidney failure or coma due to diabetes Yes
Diabetes routine care or dialysis No
Evacuation due to life-threatening medical condition (determined by ISOS) Yes
Evacuation due to spike in Coronavirus cases No
Evacuation due to life-threatening political instability (determined by ISOS) Yes
Evacuation due to traveler being uncomfortable in a city with protests/unrest No
Hospitalization due to suicide attempt Yes
Ongoing, outpatient mental health counseling No

What is an emergency evacuation?

An emergency political/security/natural disaster evacuation is triggered by a situation where the traveler is in imminent danger due to natural disasters, civil uprisings, military coups, or political unrest. Indemnified evacuation decisions are made at the discretion of ISOS security personnel, in consultation with interested governments, security analysts, Cornell, and the traveler. Such evacuations are not performed due to a traveler’s perceived threat alone nor when there are viable commercial departure options.

A medical emergency evacuation is triggered by a situation in which the injured or ill traveler cannot receive the care they need at their current location. This type of evacuation is designed to transport the traveler to the nearest facility capable of providing adequate care (i.e., another facility, city, or country), not necessarily their home country.

Can evacuations be performed from a traveler’s home country?

In most cases, no. Security evacuation is generally not possible if traveling in one’s home country on that country’s passport. Providing such an evacuation creates a refugee situation, which limits the vendor’s ability to assist. If a traveler is a dual citizen, it is recommended that they travel with both passports if traveling to their home country.

Is this health insurance?

No, not in the usual sense of the term. More precisely, this is accident/sickness insurance as it does not cover routine care. If ongoing treatment or counseling is required for a pre-existing condition throughout one’s time abroad, they should speak to their domestic insurance provider to ascertain benefits and any need for supplemental coverage.

Does this insurance satisfy Cornell’s insurance requirement to study abroad?

Yes. As long as travel does not exceed 180 consecutive days or more than 325 travel days in a 12-month period limits on coverage. However, a student may not cancel their enrollment in the Student Health Plan or any other domestic coverage accepted by Cornell Health as a substitute for the Student Health Plan in light of this coverage.

If the insurance I used to waive the Student Health Plan has limited or no coverage abroad, does Cornell require I purchase additional insurance?

No, this plan meets all Cornell requirements for study abroad. However, if not on the Student Health Plan, one should consider additional coverage that provides for routine or ongoing care, particularly if one is currently receiving such care or will be abroad for a good while. Cornell Health can help you explore options for supplemental care. Students should also speak to their study abroad advisors regarding any insurance provided by their hosts.

How can I obtain proof of coverage for my visa application?

You may contact and provide the traveler’s name, and a copy of the confirmation email sent after travel has been registered.

Can I purchase coverage for my dependents?

This particular policy is not available for dependents. However, travelers can purchase separate trip insurance through ISOS. By providing the Cornell membership number [11BSCA827281], travelers will receive a 20% discount.

What does the exclusion of benefits for "injury or sickness caused by...riot, civil commotion or police action" mean?

This exclusion would apply to someone who is an active participant in such an action. For example, a traveler is looting and is shot by police; not covered. Another example, a traveler is fighting with police and is injured; injuries not covered.

If the person were a passive participant, then there is not a concern about medical care being covered. For example, a traveler is walking across the campus during a demonstration and seeks medical care after being exposed to tear gas; covered. Another example, a traveler is injured in a terrorist bombing and needs medical attention; services would be covered.

Does this coverage include student personal property insurance?

No. The university does not provide insurance coverage for student’s personal property if it is damaged or stolen during their time at Cornell or abroad on Cornell business. Students should look to their parent’s homeowners insurance policy or purchase a separate policy of their own providing coverage for their personal property. Personal property insurance for students, including worldwide coverage, is available through Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. online at or 1-888-411-4911. Cornell University does not receive any compensation or consideration for making this available to Cornell students. It is strongly recommended that students have insurance protection for their personal belongings.

What if I'm traveling on non-Cornell travel?

This coverage applies only to Cornell-related international travel. If you are traveling on personal travel (e.g., vacation, self-identified study abroad program) we encourage you to check your current health insurance plan and contact your provider regarding international coverage. While many plans, including SHP, provide for care abroad, that coverage is often limited and on a reimbursable basis (i.e., pay out-of-pocket). One may wish to consider purchasing a separate travel insurance plan if needed. would be a good place to start.

What if I already have coverage?

Some employee benefits coverage or domestic insurance products provide coverage during travel abroad. If a traveler is taking a personal trip or vacation, these may be the best option as this plan does not provide coverage for such trips. If a traveler prefers to use an existing or purchased plan, please note that ISOS will not be able to provide a guarantee of payment or coordinate billing. All claims and expenses are the traveler’s responsibility and must be coordinated personally with their insurance provider. ISOS will not reimburse for claims made through another provider.

Regardless of any existing coverage, unless a traveler chooses otherwise, the insurance plan described on this page will act as primary insurance for any eligible traveler on any eligible claim.