Health Insurance


Health Insurance

Health Insurance (NYSHIP) for Doctoral Students at the CUNY Graduate Center

Active matriculating doctoral students at the Graduate Center who are employed as either Graduate Assistants or in one of the eligible Adjunct titles and meet specific income levels in those titles are eligible for health insurance coverage for themselves and their dependents.

To be eligible all three requirements must be met:

  • First, the students must be matriculated in a doctoral program at the Graduate Center
  • Second, they must be employed in one of the following Professional Staff Congress (PSC) titles: Graduate Assistant A, B, C, or D; Adjunct Instructor; Adjunct Lecturer; Adjunct College Laboratory Technician (CLT); Non-Teaching Adjunct I or II
  • Third, they must earn a least $4,122 per year in one of those titles; or must earn at least $2,061 per semester if they are employed for just one semester

The health insurance is made available through the Student Employee Health Plan (SEHP), a component of the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP). Students wishing to enroll must complete an enrollment form and provide copies of their social security card, birth certificate, or passport and appointment letter. Additional documentation is required for those wishing to enroll dependents. All enrollment documentation must be presented to the GC Student Affairs office for processing. Once enrolled, participants will receive three insurance identification cards; a medical card to be used for hospitalization, emergency room, doctor office visits, laboratory tests, prescription drug, mental health and substance abuse benefits; one for dental care; and one for vision coverage.

Benefits are administered by a specified insurance provider depending upon the coverage.

  • Hospital- administered by Empire BlueCross BlueShield
  • Medical/Laboratory- administered by UnitedHealthcare
  • Prescription Drug- administered by CVS Caremark
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse- administered by ValueOptions
  • Dental Care- administered by EmblemHealth
  • Vision Care- administered by Davis Vision 

To find providers participating in the program go to: The Empire Plan or

Scott Voorhees

NYSHIP Coordinator
Graduate Center
Student Affairs
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 100164309

Phone: (212) 817-7400 ext. 7406

Enhancements/Changes for 2015

Among the enchancements and changes for 2015 are:

As a result of new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provisions, there is a limit on the amount you will pay out of pocket for in-network services/supplies received during the Plan year.  For individual coverage, the out of pocket limit is a total of $6,600; $4,300 for expenses incurred under the Hospital Program, Medical/Surgical Program, and Mental Health and Substance Abuse Program and $2,300 for the Prescription Drug Program. For family coverage, the out of pocket limit is a total of $13,200; $8,600 for Hospital, Medical/Surgical and Mental Health and Substance Abuse Programs and $4,600 for Prescription Drug Program.

Prescription Drug Program- co-payments for a 30 day supply from a participating pharmacy are now:

Level 1 Drugs or for most Generic Drugs - $5
Level 2 Preferred Drugs or Compound Drugs -$25
Level 3 or Non-Preferred Drugs - $45

Preventative vaccines are available without copayment from a licensed pharmacist at a pharmacy that participates in the CVS/Caremark network.  This includes; influenza (flu)  shot, pneumonia shot, meningitis shot, and Herpes Zoster(shingles, which requires a prescription (free if age 60 or older, $5 co-pay for ages 55-59).

The participating provider network has been expanded to include licensed and certified Nurse Practitioners, Convenience Care Clinics, Nutritionists and Dietitians. 

The Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, effective January 1, 2015, requires coverage of certain preventive care services received at a network hospital or from a participating provider to be paid at 100 percent, not subject to copayment. Please refer to the 2015 At a Glance publication for more detailed information.

Please also refer to the Doctoral Student Employee Health Plan page on the CUNY University Benefits Office website to download applicable forms.

Participants pay for the plan by having automatic bi-weekly deductions from their paychecks. For 2015, the bi-weekly premium for individual coverage is $13.06 and $78.01 for family coverage (which includes spouses, children and domestic partners). The cost for the NYSHIP program is subsidized by the Graduate Center and Chancellery.

Students teaching at CUNY community colleges

Doctoral students appointed at one of CUNY’s community colleges who meet the eligibility criteria and who want NYSHIP coverage must contact the GC Student Affairs office so that they can be switched from city payroll to state payroll. This must be completed before being enrolled for NYSHIP coverage. Their payroll must be transferred each semester while employed at a community college. 

For further information

For specific questions about coverage please contact :
NYSHIP at 1-877-769-7447

Additional information is also available by sending an email to

Those that do not meet the eligibility criteria for NYSHIP/SEHP coverage, can obtain information on alternative student health insurance from the Student Health Insurance Resource Guide.

Uninsured Students

If you are uninsured, you might want to contact Student Affairs to learn about some options which may benefit you and your family. It is not advised to be uninsured. If you remain uninsured, however, you should learn which clinics and hospitals are available at a sliding fee or no cost BEFORE you need them/get sick or injured. Please see the Student Health Insurance Resource Guide for help: Student Health Insurance Resource Guide
or contact Student Affairs

Elise Perram

Associate Director of Student Affairs
Graduate Center
Student Affairs
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 100164309

Phone: (212) 817-7411