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Health Insurance Requirements

U.S. Department of State (DOS) regulations require you to have specific health insurance that covers you and any accompanying J-2 dependents for sickness or accident during the period of time that you are participating in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.  Willful failure to maintain proper insurance coverage, or misrepresentation of coverage, for you and your family members is a violation of J-1 status.

The Boston University Student Medical Insurance Plan meets the Federal requirements for J-1 students, and you will be automatically enrolled each academic year.  If you wish to waive the student insurance, or if you have graduated and require insurance during Academic Training, you must enroll in an alternate plan that meets the minimum requirements and qualifying insurance guidelines for J-1 Exchange Visitors and their J-2 dependents (outlined below).  Information on alternate insurance plans that meet DOS guidelines is available at the ISSO.

Minimum Coverage

Minimum coverage shall provide:

  1. Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness;

  2. Repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500;

  3. Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $10,000 AND

  4. A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

Insurance Policy Criteria


  1. Policy may require a waiting period for pre-existing conditions which is reasonable as determined by current industry standards;

  2. Policy may include provision for co-insurance under the terms of which the exchange visitor may be required to pay up to 25% of the covered benefits per accident or illness; AND

  3. Policy shall not unreasonably exclude coverage for perils inherent to the activities of the exchange program in which the exchange visitor participates.


Any policy, plan, or contract secured to fulfill the coverage requirements must, at aminimum, be:

  1. Underwritten by an insurance corporation having an A.M. Best rating of "A-" or above, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of "A-i" or above, a Standard & Poor's Claims-paying Ability rating of "A-" or above, a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above, or such other rating as the U.S. Department of State may from time to time specify; OR

  2. Backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor's home country; OR

  3. Part of a health benefits program offered on a group basis to employees or enrolled students by a designated sponsor; OR

  4. Offered through or underwritten by a federally qualified Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or eligible Competitive Medical Plan (CMP) as determined by the Health Care Financing Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Boston University
February 28, 2005

Boston University International Students & Scholars Office