Health Insurance Requirements for J-1 Exchange Visitors

J-1 Exchange Visitors and J-2 dependents must be covered by sickness and accident insurance for the duration of their stay in the United States. Failure to purchase such insurance may lead to loss of legal immigration status and termination from the Exchange Visitor Program. These Department of State (DOS) regulations are published in the Code of Federal Regulations [22 CFR 62.14].

Minimum health insurance coverage must provide all of the following:

  1. Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness;
  2. In case of death, repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500*;
  3. In case of serious illness or injury, payment of expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the Exchange Visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $10,000*;
  4. A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

For those who are eligible, most of the UMMS employee health plans meet the J-1 requirements.* Please note, that there is at least a two-month wait period before UMMS coverage begins. Therefore, J-1 Exchange Visitors are responsible for obtaining adequate coverage for this interim period. More information about options for benefits eligible employees and options for non-benefits eligible employees is available.

*UMMS provides medical evacuation and repatriation benefits to all UMMS sponsored J-1 visa holders and their accompanying dependents effective the date of hire. Therefore, any plan that the J-1 Exchange Visitor chooses (whether or not they are eligible for UMMS subsidized benefits) must meet the requirements in items #1 & #4 above.

The regulations continue: "An Exchange Visitor who willfully fails to maintain the insurance coverage set forth above . . . or who makes a material misrepresentation to the sponsor [University of Massachusetts Medical School] concerning such coverage shall be deemed to be in violation of these regulations and shall be subject to termination as a participant." [22 CFR 62.14(h)]

All J-1 Exchange Visitors at UMMS must sign the J-1 Attestation Form at Immigration Services stating that they understand and will comply with the J Exchange Visitor Program health insurance requirements as outlined above.