Aug 202014

Late August signals the beginning of a new semester and, with it, changes in employment and status that also affect health insurance coverage for Graduate Center students covered by NYSHIP health insurance. If there has been a change to your job title or the campus from which you will be paid, you need to submit a transfer form. Keeping your NYSHIP account up-to-date will protect against NYSHIP in Albany terminating your coverage for premium nonpayment without prior notification, which could result in your being responsible for paying for medical services you thought were covered under the plan. This is also important for making sure dependents, such as newborn children, are definitely covered in your plan. Here is some important information to know about what you can do to make sure that you remain covered while switching between adjunct jobs and from fellowships to adjunct positions and vice versa:

For students who are now enrolling or re-enrolling in NYSHIP coverage: After you submit the required paperwork to enroll in NYSHIP,there is a brief waiting period before you are entered into the NYSHIP database, due to the high volume of transactions being processed by the University Benefits Office. During this period, you will be temporarily responsible for your medical costs. While you will eventually be repaid, because your coverage will backdate to your day of enrollment, you will be responsible for covering medical expenses upfront until the paperwork has officially gone through and you have been assigned an ID number. Keep this in mind for any appointments you make during this waiting period.

If you are switching from a fellowship to an adjunct position at CUNY, or vice versa: Fill out change of title and/or campus form (attached to this post) and send to Scott Voorhees, the Graduate Center NYSHIP liaison. This ensures that your health insurance is still being deducted from your paychecks and that you are still covered. Please check your future pay stubs to confirm that the NYSHIP deduction is being taken out.

If you are switching from one CUNY campus to another as an adjunct:
Fill out change of title and/or campus form (attached to this post) and send to Scott Voorhees. This ensures that your health insurance is still being deducted from your paychecks at the new campus and that you are still covered. Please check your future pay stubs to confirm that the NYSHIP deduction is being taken out.

If you are taking an adjunct position at a two year college: To be a participant in NYSHIP you must be a state employee. Community college adjuncts are considered city employees, so their payrolls must be transferred. In other words, in order to get state health insurance coverage, you need to get your paychecks through the Graduate Center payroll rather than through the community college payroll department. This transfer must be completed before being enrolled for NYSHIP coverage, and your payroll must be transferred every semester while you are employed at a community college. Hence, it is extremely important that you make sure ASAP that Scott Voorhees knows that you are working at a two-year CUNY school so that your paycheck gets to you on time and so that your health insurance costs are deducted from it; be sure as well to give him your appointment letter. Do this ASAP, because payroll transfers often take some time.
**If you are also working at a four-year CUNY school, these instructions do not apply: your health insurance payments will be deducted from your paycheck at the four-year school.

If you are a science student going from your first to your second year: Because you are switching from GC payroll to a CUNY campus payroll, you need to fill out a change of title form (attached to this post) and give it to Scott Voorhees to ensure that your health insurance payments are still being deducted from your paychecks and that you are still covered.

If you have changed addresses: Let Scott Voorhees know your new address; otherwise, any NYSHIP information, statement of benefits, bills, etc, will be sent to your old address. ID cards are not forwarded but are sent back to Albany. The change of address form is attached to this post.

Qualifying events: Qualifying events are events that allow for a change in your health insurance: for instance, getting married, entering into a domestic partnership, and having a child are events that allow you to add dependents to your NYSHIP insurance. There are also qualifying events that allow you to cancel your NYSHIP insurance, such as when a marriage or domestic partnership allows you to become eligible to be enrolled on your partner’s insurance plan, or divorce or the end of the relationship makes necessary the termination of a spouse or partner’s coverage. However, you must let Scott Voorhees know within 30 days of the effective date of any of these events. Otherwise, you may be subject to a thirty day waiting period until the changes become effective, or you may be unable to make that switch until the end of your current appointment term. You may be liable for covering medical costs that occurred while you believed that NYSHIP would cover your partner/children.

If your appointment is ending, you are taking a leave of absence or you are graduating: You will need to complete a Termination Request form (attached to this post) if your eligible appointment is ending and you do not have an eligible appointment for the subsequent semester, or if you are taking a leave of absence or graduating. Once your termination is processed, you will be offered continued coverage via COBRA by New York State Civil Service. If you have an eligible appointment in a subsequent semester or return from a leave of absence with an eligible appointment, you can be re-enrolled in NYSHIP. Please contact Scott Voorhees.

Note on pay stubs and NYSHIP: Retroactive NYSHIP charges/deductions from your paycheck will appear with the abbreviation “ADJ” which means adjustment, not adjunct. These charges are in addition to the regular bi-weekly deduction and are the result of adding a spouse, partner or child. It generally takes a couple of payroll periods after the effective date of the change before these deductions will appear on your pay stub. If you have any questions, you can contact Scott Voorhees.

Concerns/questions about your NYSHIP coverage or claims? You cancontact Scott Voorhees and me (DSC Health and Wellness Officer). Once you set up a meeting with him, make sure you have both the medical bills from the provider and the NYSHIP statement of benefits forms that pertain to your concern. Keep the DSC aware of your concerns as well, so we know better how to advocate for you; I am happy to meet with you.

Contacting NYSHIP: You can contact NYSHIP at 1-877-769-7447, but be sure to document your call: ask for the name of the person you are speaking to and write down what that person says to you or record the call. Remember as well that you have a right to ask to speak to the supervisor of the person on the line in order to get more information, especially if you are unclear on what the person on the line is telling you.


Scott Voorhees’ contact information:

Phone: (212) 817-7406
Office: Student Affairs, Rm 7301.05

My contact information:

Office: DSC Room 5495; see my office hours on the Doctoral Student Council website (

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Aug 202014

The current CUNY student health plan with United Healthcare will not be offered for the 2014-15 school year; for currently enrolled students, coverage will stop at the end of August. This counts as a qualifying event that allows students who are currently enrolled to purchase health insurance through the NY State of Health insurance exchange. However, students must buy insurance within 60 days of losing coverage. The Student Services website has more information about this change.

Also attached is a PDF with information on how to sign up for the NY State marketplace and an explanation of the different tiers of plans you can find there. While the document provides useful explanations for using the marketplace, Elise Perram also emphasizes, “The material within is provided solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be an exhaustive review or to endorse, recommend, or otherwise favor any given health insurance plan or health resource option over another.”

For a comprehensive and handy guide to deciphering the language of health insurance as well as advice for choosing a health insurance plan, look to this Student Health Insurance guide put together by the GC Student Affairs office.

Please contact and meet with Elise Perram, Associate Director of Student Affairs, to work through your options and for guidance on non-NYSHIP health insurance queries and concerns. She can help demystify the health insurance process and is an excellent resource for figuring out the steps you should take to make sure you are covered.


Elise Perram’s contact information:


Phone: (212) 817-7411

Office: Student Affairs, Rm 7301


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Sep 102013

Ever feel stressed, can’t concentrate on studies, or lack motivation? This lecture series was designed for you, the busy graduate student.

stressed-studentMeditation is by no means only sitting in perfect lotus posture in a perfect setting.

When we eat, we eat; when we study, we study. This is meditation. When we listen to others with full attention and a non-judgmental attitude, this is meditation. When we relax our mind for a minute or two without wandering thoughts, this is meditation… Meditation can not only help us listen better, focus better and study better, but it may also benefit our relationships with fellow students, advisors, colleagues and ourselves.

So, come to this lecture series to learn the relationship between consciousness and  meditation and how to meditate, with three distinguished meditation teachers from three different spiritual practices. Each session will feature a one hour lecture followed by 15 minutes of guided meditation.

9.12.13 Eric Larson, director of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Organization (USA)

9.25.13 Ven. Chang Wen, director of Dharma Drum Retreat Center

10.2.13 Joseph Mauricio, executive director of the Baltimore Shambhala Meditation Center

All lectures will be held in room 5414 of the Graduate Center from 6:00-7:15p.m.

This event is free and open to the public, so invite your friends!

Aug 212012

For those CUNY doctoral and masters students who take classes or teach at Hunter—there’s a new smoking policy coming into effect with the start of this new semester:

“On Monday, August 27, 2012, all Hunter campuses will be tobacco-free. This new policy, implemented by the CUNY Board of Trustees in January 2011, states that smoking and the use of tobacco products will be strictly prohibited on college grounds and facilities, both indoors and outside. The new Hunter College tobacco policy reads as follows:

“Beginning in Fall 2012, smoking and tobacco use, including the use of electronic cigarettes, is strictly prohibited in all areas, including indoor, outdoor, and vehicles, that are owned, leased, operated, or maintained by Hunter College.  There is no sale of cigarettes, cigars, chewing, or pipe tobacco at any facility, location, or vending machine owned, leased, operated, or maintained by Hunter College or its contractors.”

This policy has been revised for the benefit and safety of all members of the Hunter College community. We anticipate a smooth implementation of this policy throughout the course of the year and are looking forward to working with our neighbors and internal constituents to create a healthier environment on campus. Hunter College respects an individual’s right to use tobacco; however, in accordance with CUNY policy, we must strictly discourage tobacco use on college property.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation during this period of transition. Please contact with any questions or concerns.”

Leonard Zinnanti, Acting Chief Operating Officer

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 Supported by the CUNY Doctoral Students Council.