J-1 Health Insurance

Federal regulations require all J-1 exchange visitors and J-2 dependents to have health and medical insurance in effect for the entire duration of their Exchange Visitor Program. Insurance must meet certain minimum requirements set forth by the US Department of State (see below). Insurance must be valid beginning on the J-1 program start date and remain in effect through the J-1 program end date (the dates on Form DS-2019).

J-1 exchange visitors are responsible for ensuring that they have insurance that meets the requirements for themselves and any J-2 dependents. Failure to maintain insurance that meets the requirements is a violation of the Exchange Visitor Program regulations and can result in termination of the J-1 program.

Minimum Requirements

J-1/J-2 insurance must meet all of the following minimum coverage amounts:

  1. Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;
  2. Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000;
  3. Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000; and
  4. A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

Insurance policies secured to fulfill these requirements:

  • May require a waiting period for pre-existing conditions that is reasonable as determined by current industry standards;
  • May include provisions 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
  • Must not unreasonably exclude coverage for perils inherent to the activities of the exchange program in which the exchange visitor participates.

In addition, J-1 exchange visitors and J-2 dependents may be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

In order to ensure that insurance can be accessed and utilized by US healthcare providers, MUSC institutional policy requires that all exchange visitors obtain insurance coverage from a US insurance provider or provider with a US affiliate.

For more detailed information on the health insurance requirements and available options, refer to the insurance section of the J-1 Pre-Arrival Guide. All incoming and current J-1 exchange visitors can access the J-1 Pre-Arrival Guide through their Terra Dotta portal.

Insurance Verification

J-1 exchange visitors sponsored by MUSC 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 request on the Requests tab within their Terra Dotta Scholar Portal. New (initial) J-1 exchange visitors cannot have their J-1 SEVIS records validated until the Insurance Verification is completed and approved.

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. If your J-2 dependents are covered on a separate plan, you can submit a separate Insurance Verification request for the J-2 dependent insurance coverage.