The J-1 Visitor
The Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs. This program is run by the US Department of State and there are upward of 170,000 J-1 visitors in the US at any given time.
Medical Insurance Requirements:
Among the myriad responsibilities of a J-1 visitor, chief among them is to have some form of health coverage. These requirements are in place as a safe-guard, as many countries will not provide full medical benefits while an individual is travelling.
While this insurance coverage is a requirement for J-1 visitors, their spouses and unmarried minor children (under age 21), it is the responsibility of the host to either ensure their J-1 visitors have coverage or facilitate the coverage thereof.
Minimum Insurance Standards:
• Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident of illness
• Repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500
• Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $10,000
• A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
Some of these make common sense, but features such as evacuation and repatriation expenses are rarely ever part of standard US medical insurance policies. [Typical school-sponsored plans also do not provide comprehensive medical benefits.] If a J-1 host wants to include the J-1 visitor under an Employer-Sponsored medical policy (assuming a legitimate employer/employee relationship exists), that policy must be inspected for sufficiency according to the above-referenced guidelines.
Please note that there are additional carrier solvency requirements as well.
The F-1 Visitor
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to study in any of the following institutions in the United States must obtain an F-1 Visa:
• University or college
• High School
• Private Elementary School
• Another academic institution, including a language training program
While there is no requirement for F-1 Visitors to obtain minimum insurance coverage, they would be eligible for the same coverage that is available to the J-1 Visitors.
How to Purchase
To purchase plans that meet both the Department of State J-1 Visa requirements as well as requirements in the Affordable Care Act, please click the GeoBlue logo below.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at:
Pauline Sobelman has worked as an advisor in the insurance industry for over 25 years.