J-1 Insurance Requirements

To assist J-1 Exchange Visitors in understanding health insurance requirements and options available, CGH has created a comprehensive guide dedicated to medical insurance and health care in the United States: J-1 Health Insurance Guide (PDF). Listed below are some of the health insurance requirements for J-1 Exchange Visitors.

Department of State Requirements

All Exchange Visitors and their dependents are required to have sickness, accident, medical evacuation, and repatriation insurance in effect for the entire duration of their Exchange Visitor status. Exchange visitors are required to obtain insurance from a U.S. insurance company. A willful failure to carry insurance is considered to be a violation of the Exchange Visitor Program regulations and will result in termination of the J-1 program. Exchange Visitors are required to show proof of health insurance in order to validate their J-1 program initially, and for any future extension and requested travel signatures.

Health insurance held by J-1 Exchange Visitors and J-2 dependents must meet all of the following minimum coverage amounts:

  • 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; and
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

Affordable Care Act

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as “ObamaCare”), individuals in the United States who do not maintain “minimum essential Health care coverage” must make an additional payment to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) when they pay their taxes. This is known as the individual mandate. Whether or not an individual is subject to the individual mandate is determined by the individual’s tax status. If you are considered a “resident alien” for tax purposes, then you are subject to the individual mandate.

For more information on the Affordable Care Act, visit this Health care information site.

Submitting Insurance Documents

All J-1 exchange visitors are required to provide proof of insurance to the Center for Global Health. Incoming and current J-1 exchange visitors will provide insurance details through the Insurance Verification function on the Requests tab within their Terra Dotta Scholar Portal.

If you have coverage other than MUSC employee insurance coverage, you must upload proof of insurance documents. Your proof of insurance documents must provide your name, the dates of coverage, and full details of coverage indicating the specific insurance benefits. This is sometimes known as Confirmation of Coverage or Schedule of Benefits. In addition, some insurance plans provide a “Visa Letter” that contains all of these details.

If you have J-2 dependents, you must also upload proof of insurance documents for each J-2 dependent.