From The Technique
Jump to: navigation, search

Student Health Insurance

Starting September 1, 2014, the graduate student insurance has been switched from Aetna to UnitedHealthcare (UHC) insurance. For more information about the new UHC health insurance coverage, please visit the Caltech Benefits page. If you do not opt out of insurance enrollment over the summer, you will automatically be enrolled in the health insurance. Our plan is a PPO, which means your costs will be significantly lower if you use a preferred provider. Human Resources provides a concise list of benefits offered under your current plan. Before visiting an off-campus medical service center, you will need to create an account at UHC and either print out your Health Insurance ID card or download the UHC app in order to display your health insurance card.

If you have any questions about your healthcare coverage, you can ask our dedicated Caltech human resources total rewards specialists, Kurt Murdoch (X8528, and Roxanne Meraz (X8943, The Graduate Student Council also appoints a Health Advocate who can help direct you to the correct health-related resources on campus.


What does the Plan include?

  • Coverage for medical and mental health conditions
  • Travel assistance services and worldwide medical coverage while traveling or studying abroad
  • Vision discounts for eye exams, eyeglasses and contacts

See details on the Student Health benefits page.

How does the Plan work?

When you use the Plan, you may go to any doctor or hospital. You first pay a deductible and any required copays, and then the Plan pays:

  • 100% for covered medical and mental health care when you see participating providers in United Healthcare’s Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) network
  • 80% for covered prescription medications when you use United Healthcare PPO pharmacies

How do I enroll (or waive participation) in the Plan?

Each year, you must choose to enroll or waive during the Enrollment/Waiver Period (June 1 – August 31). You will make your choice online through a special Enrollment/Waiver Application at the Human Resources Benefits page.

Are there requirements for waiving Plan coverage?

You can waive your participation in the Student Health Insurance Plan only if you have other comparable health insurance that meets Caltech’s waiver requirements. The waiver requirements are described here.

When does Plan coverage begin and end?

For each academic term during which you are a registered student, coverage begins on the first day of the Insurance Term and ends on the last day of the Insurance Term (as long as you are enrolled in the Plan for any part of the Term).

Reimbursement for Dependents

If you have dependents, you may be eligible for a reimbursement through the graduate deans office (fill out this form). The Institute will charge your student account for your and your eligible dependent(s)' premiums if you elect to have this coverage for your dependents. Contact the Human Resources Benefits department (x6443) for more information, application forms, and alternative insurance plans (which are usually more affordable), e.g. Anthem, Kaiser Permanente etc. They can also help walk you through your decision, even though ultimately it is the grad student and his/her spouse who have to fill out the paper work and apply.

Emergency Medical Funds

If you have a medical or dental emergency, you may be eligible for the Graduate Studies Office's emergency medical funds. Contact one of the graduate student deans in order to find out if you qualify (x6346).


Before you receive medical services at an outside facility, show your United Healthcare card to identify yourself as a student covered by the Health Insurance Plan. When you fill in the forms, have the medical expenses billed to the insurance company directly. Even if you do that, sometimes the medical bills are sent to you. In that case or to get prescription drugs reimbursed, you must file a claim form to get benefits paid. You can obtain a claim form from the Health Center, complete the front side describing the injury or sickness as simply as possible and mail the completed form together with all itemized bills.

Prescription Drugs

UnitedHealthcare Pharmacy (UHCP) covers 80% of the cost per prescription up to a 31 day supply per prescription. The cost of prescription drugs through UHCP is based on a tier system. Tier 1 drugs cost less than tier 2 drugs, which will cost less than tier 3 drugs. A list of the different prescription drugs with their tiers can be found at the UHC website here. If you have tier 1 or 2 drugs, it may be less expensive to have mail order prescriptions where there is a $12 copay per prescription for tier 1 drugs and a $20 copay per prescription for tier 2 drugs up to a 90-day supply. Please note that if there is an "E" next to your prescription drug, it may be excluded from coverage. Also, "tier status may change periodically and without prior notice to you. Please access or call 1-855-828-7716 for the most up-to-date tier status" (UHC Caltech Student Health Insurance Plan Brochure," September 1, 2014). More information can be found in the brochure for UHC insurance for Caltech. The least expensive method for receiving certain prescriptions is through mail order. In order to enroll, you need to fill out this form.

If you have a specialized drug prescription (especially tier 3 or excluded (E) drugs), please consult with your primary care doctor or the health center ASAP to see if there are less expensive alternatives that are equally effective.

Continuing Coverage after Leaving Caltech

If you take a sabbatical, graduate or withdraw mid-term, coverage will remain in force only for the balance of the Insurance Term for which you last enrolled as a degree seeking student. For information regarding continuation coverage, including rates, contact the Caltech Human Resources at (626) 395-6443.


Students traveling 100 or more miles away from home or outside of their home country can now obtain emergency medical, travel, and personal security assistance, 24 hours a day, anywhere in the world, through FrontierMEDEX, a leading provider of international travel assistance services. This website provides information on how to use FrontierMEDEX Services 24 hours a day.

On-Campus Health Services

Archibald Young Health Center

The Health Center serves Caltech undergrads and grad students located just South of California Blvd on Arden. Visit the Health Center whenever you need health care services. You do not need an appointment - just drop in. But if you wish to see a specific doctor or nurse, call for an appointment. Their services include medical consultations and treatments, lab tests and x-rays at offsite facilities, specialty clinics, prescription medications, pap smears, birth control prescriptions, health education and preventive care, allergy injections and other immunizations, etc.


During the academic year, the Young Health Center is open for medical care 8:15 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, (During summer, the Health Center is closed for lunch from noon to 1:00 p.m.)

The medical and counseling staff are on call for acute medical problems when the Health Center is closed. The phone number of the answering service for medical assistance is (626) 584-2421. Ask for Dr. Stuart Miller and indicate that you are a Caltech student. Often, a physician can alleviate your problem by giving advice or phoning in a prescription.


Services at the Health Center are free of charge to registered Caltech students. Prescribed medicines are supplied to you at cost. For a fee, you may also enroll your spouse. Children are not eligible to use the Health Center.

Medical Counseling

Health education brochures and professional advice are available on a variety of topics free at the Health Center, including stress management, physical fitness, diet, birth control, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Specialty Clinics

The Caltech Health Center operates specialty clinics, please see the Health Center's website for details about each clinic:

  • Medical Consultations/Referral
  • Laboratory Tests
  • Radiology Services
  • Pharmacy/Prescription Services
  • Allergy Injection Clinic
  • Women's Health Clinic
  • Sexual Health Services
  • Travel and Immunization Clinic
  • Student Health Center Spouse Program
  • Requests for Medical Records
  • Administrative Services


Under The Affordable Care Act, most forms of birth control should be covered 100% by your insurance. For the information about the coverage of different contraceptives, contact your health insurance company. In addition, condoms are available without charge at the Health Center (1-8) restrooms.

Caltech Counseling Center

Psychological counseling is offered free of charge to undergraduate and graduate students by the Caltech Counseling Center. Individual, couple, and group counseling is provided by licensed psychologists and Ph.D. graduate interns. The Counseling Center also provides consultations, workshops and 24-hour crisis services. Students seek help at the center for a variety of reasons, including stress, relationship issues, depression, anxiety, substance use or abuse, loneliness, grief, and academic stress. The center ensures confidentiality by not communicating with faculty, staff, family, or other students unless with the expressed consent of the student seeking service, or when required by law. If you would like help for any reason, please feel free to call the Counseling Center for an appointment. If you call after business hours, there are recorded instructions. If your problem is urgent, please mention this and you will be seen the same day. Call the Counseling Center at x8331 to make an appointment. If you have a mental emergency when the Counseling Center is closed, call Campus Security at x4701. Campus Security will notify the on-call psychologist.

The Counseling Center offers several different on-campus programming series such as an Emotional Well-being Workshop Series. Previous topics includ Depression Management, Stress, Emotional Regulation, Mindfulness, Reading the Emotions of Others, and Understanding ADHD.

Emergency Health Services

Please see for latest information.

If emergency medical assistance is needed, call:

  • on campus: x5000
  • Catalina apartments: (626) 395-5000
  • off campus, anywhere in the US: 911

The person answering the phone will direct paramedics to your exact location. Hospitals in the Pasadena area have become very strict about requiring emergency room patients to show their ability to pay for medical care. Caltech’s student health care (Aetna) provides each student with a card, keep this with you at all times, to ensure that you receive prompt medical attention in the event of an emergency.

Urgent Care Center

Fair Oaks Urgent Care Center

797 S. Fair Oaks Ave,

Pasadena, CA 91105


open 7 days a week, 24 hours

Pasadena Community Urgent Care - TIP: This one usually has a much faster turnaround!

3160 East Del Mar Avenue

Pasadena, CA 91107


open 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., 7 days a week

Huntington Memorial Hospital

100 W. California Blvd., Pasadena; (626) 397-5111 Urgent problems occurring after hours should be taken directly to a nearby emergency room; Huntington Memorial Hospital is the closest one to campus. The Health Center should be notified whenever a student visits the hospital so that follow-up care can be provided.

Health Resources

12-Step Programs

The 12-Step programs are all based to some degree on the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Counseling and Hotlines

Off-campus Behavioral Health Services

Here is a map of Caltech behavioral health service providers that was generated by the Counseling Center.

Map legend:

  • Blue marker Psychotherapists are represented by blue markers
  • Red marker Psychiatrists who can prescribe medication are represented by red markers
  • Orange plus marker Hospitals with psychiatric services are represented by orange plus signs
  • Green marker Community mental health clinics are represented by green squares
  • Orange flag The Caltech Counseling Center is represented by an orange flag.

Caltech Counseling Center

The Counseling Center offers numerous services including individual psychotherapy, counseling, and student-to-student mentorship.

If you or someone you know are depressed or suicidal, please call the Caltech Student Counseling Center at (626) 395-8331. After 5:00 p.m. you may reach the on-call psychologist by contacting campus security at (626) 395-4701.

Suicide Prevention Center

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, call the Didi Hirsch 24-hour Suicide Crisis Line at (877) 727-4747.

Center for Pacific Asian Families

543 North Fairfax Ave., Room 108, Los Angeles; (323) 653-4045 or (800) 339-3940 (24-hour crisis hotline) Serves the Asian population. Bilingual counselors are available (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and others) for individuals, families, and groups. The Center has a shelter and counseling programs dealing with domestic violence, child abuse, and rape.

LA Gay & Lesbian Center

1625 N. Schrader Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 993-7400 and multiple other locations. Sponsors a variety of social services, referrals, and discussion/counseling groups targeting the gay, bisexual, and lesbian community, including health, youth, and addiction programs, legal aid, and AIDS.

The Trevor Project

Trained counselors are available for support anyone who is in crisis, feeling suicidal, or in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk 24/7. Call The Trevor Lifeline at 866-488-7386. There are also chat or text options see the Trevor Project website for more details.

Pasadena Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency

1245 E. Walnut St., Pasadena; (626) 795-9127 Pasadena Victim-Witness Assistance Program Pasadena Courthouse, 300 E. Walnut St., Room 107; (626) 356-5714 In exchange for cooperating with the police, this program provides the opportunity for compensation for medical and psychological expenses of survivors of violent crimes.

Fuller Psychological and Family Services

180 North Oakland Avenue, Pasadena; (626) 584-5555 Associated with Fuller Theological Seminary, this program offers individual, family, marital, and group counseling.

Los Angeles County Child Abuse Hotline

(800) 540-4000 This hotline processes reports of child abuse and also provides consultations with social workers.

Sexually-transmitted Illnesses, HIV, and AIDS

On campus STI and HIV testing services

If you would like to get tested, or learn more about this topic openly, come by the Student Health Center and see one of the experienced nurse practitioners. Any Caltech student, whether on the Caltech Health Insurance Plan or not, can use this resource. During consultation, they will help to decide which tests are appropriate, inform you of the process involved: such as the cost, method of testing, referral and follow-up, and help with financial-related questions.

Off campus STI and HIV testing services

Test sites which are free and absolutely anonymous (but which require an appointment) include:

AIDS Service Center

65 N Raymond Ave, Ste 240 Pasadena, CA 91103 (626) 441-8495 Located in Pasadena, the center provides case management, health care, legal services, and support groups for HIV-positive people, people with AIDS or ARC, and caregivers.

Women's Health

Los Angeles Child Care & Development Center

2701 N. Main St., Los Angeles; (323) 223-3313 Women’s health care, cervical caps, home birth, alternative birth center, midwifery, prenatal and postpartum care.

LA County Commission for Women

500 W. Temple St. #583, LA; (213) 974-1455 This commission publishes an excellent primer on health care for women. Call them to obtain a copy.

Saban Community Clinic

8405 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 653-1990 Women’s health care, cervical caps, home birth, alternative birth center, midwifery, prenatal and postpartum care.

Planned Parenthood 1095 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena; (626) 798-0706 Birth control, abortions, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and counseling.


Although most Caltech students visit Huntington Memorial Hospital for emergency and urgent care, there are other hospitals in the area you can go to in case of emergency or if you live in a different city:

  • City of Hope: 1500 E. Duarte Rd., Duarte; (800) 826-4673
  • Huntington Hospital: 100 W. California Blvd., Pasadena; (626) 397-5000
  • Methodist Hospital: 300 W. Huntington Dr., Arcadia; (626) 445-4441
  • San Gabriel Valley Medical Center: 438 W. Las Tunas Dr., San Gabriel; (626) 289-5454

<display_map searchmarkers="all" height=500px width=500px> 34.130575, -117.971111 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ City of Hope 34.133905, -118.152796 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Huntington Hospital 34.133905, -118.152796 34.134508, -118.042162 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Methodist Hospital 34.134508, -118.042162 34.101232, -118.105964 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ San Gabriel Valley Medical Center 34.101232, -118.105964 </display_map>


If the Health Center has the drug prescribed, their price will almost always be the best. When you get prescription drugs from pharmacies, take your UHC card and you will only have to pay the 20% which is your copayment. If the pharmacy does not participate in UHC’s prescription program, save the original receipt with doctor’s name to get reimbursed by UHC. To look up a complete list of “Preferred Pharmacies” near your home, go to this website and type in your address. All of these pharmacies are part of UHC’s program:

  • Walgreens: 310 S Lake Ave.; (626) 583-8066
  • Ralphs Pharmacy: 160 N. Lake Ave.; (626) 793-0531
  • Cal Oaks Pharmacy: 55 S. Lake Ave.; (626) 795-5956
  • Rite Aid Pharmacy: 1038 E. Colorado Blvd.; (626) 796-5539
  • Vons: 2355 E. Colorado Blvd.; (626) 744-2615

The nearest 24-hour pharmacy is the CVS at 1401 SOUTH BALDWIN AVENUE, ARCADIA, CA 91006, (626) 445-1284.

{{#widget:Iframe |url= |width=600px |height=600px |border=0 |scrolling=off }}

Pregnancy and Maternity

Early Decisions

Several area resources can help you sort through your decisions:

  • Caltech Counseling Center: (1-8, x8331) located in the Health Center
  • Planned Parenthood: 1045 N. Lake Ave; (626) 798-0706
  • Pregnancy Help Center: 5626 N. Rosemead Blvd., Temple City; (626) 309-0788 (Editor’s note: This Help Center is affiliated with the Right to Life League of Southern California, so they will not offer referrals for abortions.)


  • A Labor of Love Adoptions:; (888) 358-2229
  • Children’s Service Department: 695 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles; (213) 738-4577
  • Children’s Bureau of California: (323) 644-3900
  • Holy Family Services Counseling and Adopting: 402 S. Marengo Ave., Ste. A, Pasadena; (626) 578-1156

National Adoption Center:; (800) TO-ADOPT


Abortion is legal in the United States through the first trimester. If the mother’s health and safety are at risk, abortions may be done in the second trimester. It is the women’s right to have an abortion and the father’s permission is not required. If you choose to have an abortion, Planned Parenthood will be your main resource. The actual procedure takes a short time and is done on an outpatient basis. The UHC health insurance will cover 80% of the cost of your abortion up to $200. If you have a medically necessary abortion, then this may be completely covered by the UHC insurance.

A partial list of local abortion clinics:

  • Family Planning Associates Medical Group Glendale: 372 W. Arden Ave., Suite 200; (818) 502-1341
  • Family Planning Associates Medical Group Los Angeles: 601 S. Westmoreland Ave., Los Angeles; (213) 738-7283
  • Family Planning Associates Medical Group Rosemead: 1280 N. San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead; (626) 572-8800
  • Pro-Choice Medical Center: 10150 National Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 247-8745
  • Family Planning Associates Medical Group California: (800) 492-3764 (main number)

Prenatal Care

Prenatal care generally involves periodic exams which ensure that the pregnancy is progressing normally. Hospital-affiliated programs expose you to the hospital’s practices, which can be enlightening. Independent childbirth educators, however, can sometimes provide better comparative information. Your physician can probably help you find a program that fits your needs. The Caltech Health Center will give you a referral to a place which will be covered by the Caltech health insurance. Caltech graduate insurance will cover the costs of prenatal care and delivery.

  • Lamaze:; (800) 368-4404. Website helps you find a Lamaze educator in your area.
  • Huntington Memorial Hospital Childbirth Education Office: 100 W. California, Pasadena; (626) 397-5078

Safety Considerations

In research, it is not unusual to handle substances which are unhealthy for an unborn fetus. The safety office (x6727) can advise you of the risks of certain chemicals and buildings. Talk to other people in your lab, your advisor, or others in your option about risks specific to your area of research and about the precautions you should take to ensure the safety of your baby.


Most Pasadena obstetricians are affiliated with Huntington Memorial Hospital and will send you there for delivery. It is the best place for a high-risk delivery. All the hospitals give maternity ward tours. You should make sure you specify the name of your ob/gyn for delivery at the hospital or you may get whoever is on call. Take some time to look at the hospitals and know what you’re getting into.

Maternity Leave

The official maternity leave is 6 weeks, paid leave. An additional 6 weeks of unpaid leave are also available. If you wish to take a leave of absence for a longer period of time, you and your advisor should meet to discuss a reasonable accommodation and the financial and professional ramifications of an extended leave. You are encouraged to speak with the Dean of Graduate Studies in the Graduate Office (x6346) if you have concerns about negotiating an extended leave of absence with your advisor. If you are a postdoc, contact the Staff and Faculty Consultation Center (x8360).

Children’s Health Care

The City of Pasadena Health Department operates a Child Health Clinic for children from two months to four years. Free and low-cost childhood immunizations are available. Call (626) 744-6136 for more information. The clinic is located at 1845 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Room 2130. For more information on infant and child care, please refer to Child Care section under Services.

Dental Insurance

If not waived, students are automatically enrolled in the Caltech Student Dental Insurance Plan. This plan is a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan through Delta Dental. You can locate a local in-network provider by using the Delta Dental Network Provider Directory. See specific details on claims and benefits on the Caltech benefits website.

Vision Discounts

If you are enrolled in the Caltech Student Health Insurance Plan, you are eligible for discounts on vision care services and materials through UHC's Health Allies Discount Program. You can receive discounts on eye exams, eyeglasses, contact lenses and lasik eye surgery when you use participating UHC Spectera providers. For details on your coverage for annual eye exams, eyeglasses, and contact lenses, use your Member ID to log on to the UHC Vision plan website. There you can find your "Benefit Summary" with your expected costs for exams and coverage for in-network and out-of-network providers. In addition, you can find a local in-network provider for your eyecare needs using their "Finding a Provider" application. We have a $40 copay for an annual eye exam with an in-network provider. For additional discounts, you can also visit the UHC Health Allies vision benefits page or call UHC's customer care center at 1-800-860-8773.

If you are in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (CCE), you can receive prescription safety goggles by filling out this form. Then, submit the form to the EH&S Office (MC 25-6; or Joe Drew in the CCE division (MC 164-30;

Other Benefits and Discounts

According to the UHC Health Allies website, you may also be eligible to receive 10-25% discounts on the following items: With the health discount program, students can save on:

  • Sports apparel and equipment from name brands like Danskin, Gaiam, Polar, Sierra Trading Post and others
  • Books and other media, including textbooks from publisher McGraw Hill Professional
  • Fitness club memberships including select Anytime Fitness, Bally Total Fitness, Curves, Gold's Gym and Snap Fitness locations
  • Natural foods, teas, vitamins and supplements, and skin care products
  • Smoking cessation programs
  • Stress reduction and relaxation resources
  • Weight management programs
  • Wellness testing
  • And much more

Sign into the UnitedHealth Allies website in order to explore and receive these discounts.