J-1 Health Insurance Requirement

If you are a BU sponsored J-1 Exchange Visitor in any category, please note that U.S. Department of State (DOS) regulations require you to have health insurance that covers you and any accompanying J-2 dependents for sickness or accident coverage for the duration of your J-1 Program.  Willful failure to maintain proper insurance coverage or misrepresentation of coverage is a violation of your J-1 status.

We recommend that you consider the following when determining your coverage options and levels of coverage:

  • The minimum J-1 requirements only cover emergency medical care. In order to facilitate access to routine healthcare during your time in the U.S., we recommend that you consider purchasing more comprehensive insurance coverage.  More comprehensive options are available for BU students and qualifying employees.
  • Be aware of the start date and end date of your coverage – as interim coverage under another plan may be needed to ensure you meet the J-1 requirements. For example, if your BU employment/J-1 program will commence prior to the start of your BU health insurance coverage,  you will need to obtain interim coverage to meet the J requirements for you and your family.  In addition, J-1 students who will remain in the U.S. to utilize their Academic Training benefit will no longer qualify for the BU student coverage, but will need to maintain the appropriate level of coverage to maintain their J status.  Short-term options can be found under the Options for Non-Benefits Eligible Employees Affiliates section under Insurance options for scholars.
  • The BU SHIP BU Student Health Insurance plan meets all J-1 requirements as it includes medical evacuation and repatriation for students.
  • Health insurance plans offered to BU employees (staff, faculty and researchers) DO NOT include the required medical evacuation and repatriation coverage. You should purchase a supplementary plan available that covers this requirement to help you comply with your J-1 required minimums.

All J-1 Exchange Visitors must complete both the J-1 Insurance Policy Disclosure Form and the J-1 Exchange Visitor J Compliance Statement to confirm proper and continued coverage.

To comply with the regulations, an insurance policy must meet the following minimum criteria as established by the U.S. Department of State (DOS):

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;
  • A deductible not greater than $500 per injury or illness. (A deductible is the amount that you need to pay per injury or illness before insurance will pay the remaining balance);
  • In the case of death, payment for repatriation of remains up to $25,000;
  • In the case of serious illness or injury, payment of expenses associated with medical evacuation to the home country up to $50,000;
  • Coverage of pre-existing conditions after a waiting period that is reasonable by current insurance industry standards;
  • Payment by the insurance policy of at least 75% of the cost of the medical care (patient must not be required to pay a “co-payment” of more than 24% per accident or illness);
  • Coverage for activities inherent to the Exchange Visitor Program; and
  • The policy must be underwritten by an insurance corporation with an A.M. Best rating of “A-“ or above, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of “A-1” or above, a Standards and Poor’s Claims Paying Ability rating of “A-“ or above, or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above. Alternatively, the policy must be backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor’s home country.

J-1 Coverage Requirements are also available under the ‘Eligibility and Fees’ section of the Department of State’s J-1 Exchange Visitor information.