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Health Insurance Requirements for the J1 Visa

Written by Jennifer Frankel

If you are traveling to the US on a J1 or J2 visa, you will be required to carry medical health insurance for the full duration of your program. Many sponsor programs provide both their students and dependents with health insurance, or you will be required to enroll in a private health insurance plan. Either way, the US Department of State has minimum J1 health insurance requirements that your insurance plan must meet (which applies to J2 visa holders as well).

  • Medical Benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of Remains in the amount of $25,000
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
  • A policy underwritten by an insurance carrier with:
    • an A.M. Best rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above;
    • a McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor’s Claims paying Ability rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above;
    • a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of ‘‘B+’’ or above;
    • a Fitch Ratings, Inc. rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above;
    • a Moody’s Investor Services rating of ‘‘A3’’ or above;

Please note - these new requirements reflect the changes that were announced in October of 2014, and will come into force on May 15th 2015. All J visa holders will need to have this new level of coverage on May 15th 2015 (regardless of when you started your program). For more details about the increased limits, please see our blog post for more details.

If the insurance carrier rating from these J1 health insurance requirements is not met, your sponsor may ascertain that the your policy is backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor's home country.

It is important that you check with your sponsor directly to see whether you’ll be required to carry their group health insurance plan or if you will need to make your own arrangements to purchase individual health insurance for the J1 visa.

As we work with the minimum J1 health insurance requirements daily, we wanted to make it simple for exchange visitors to find a plan that meets and exceeds the requirements laid out by the US Department of State. If you are responsible for finding your own insurance plan, our international student health insurance plan and our international travel medical insurance both specifically meet and exceed this requirement.

Our international student health insurance plan is designed for those scholars who will be in the US for longer than one year. This comprehensive coverage not only meets the J1 health insurance requirements, but also provides additional coverage for mental health, maternity, sports, and pre-existing conditions. Our international travel medical insurance is well designed for those trips one year or less, and provides comprehensive coverage to spouses and children meeting the J1 health insurance requirements as well. This plan covers accidents and illnesses up to $1 million, medical evacuation & repatriation, along with travel benefits including lost checked luggage, trip interruption, political evacuation, and more.

Once you’ve purchased your health insurance for the J1 visa, many sponsors as well as embassies and consulates may request to see proof of insurance that specifically meets these outlined requirements. You will need to contact your insurance carrier for a letter that address each of these requirements and the amount of coverage your plan provides. Since we work with J-1 health insurance requirements on a daily basis, we automatically provide this visa letter immediately upon purchasing our plans so that you’ll have the documentation available to bring with you for your visa interview appointment.

So whether you purchased your health insurance for the J1 visa from us or through your sponsor organization, be sure to check that your insurance meets these minimum requirement and that you have a visa letter with proof of coverage to present.

« Please return back to our J1 Visa Insurance page for more information, or visit our Insurance Explained Section