J-1 Insurance Requirement

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All J-1 exchange visitors: students, scholars, researchers, and professors (and their J-2 family members) are required, as a condition of their visa status, to carry health insurance which meets the minimum requirements.

J-1 Students - are automatically enrolled in SIU's student insurance plan which DOES meet the requirement. Dependent insurance can also be purchased through this plan.

J-1 Scholars, Researchers, and Professors must typically purchase their own insurance through a third party.

As insurance rates may vary based upon the company you choose, as well as the health-status, age, etc. of the insured, it is recommended that you get estimates from at least 3 different agencies to make certain that you are making the best choice for your personal situation. It is highly recommended that you purchase from a local company, as they will be able to explain the insurance and help you in the event that you need it.

You must be covered by this insurance by the day your program starts (start date listed on your DS-2019). Therefore, insurance should be purchased before you arrive, or you should arrive before your start date in order to purchase it.

You and your dependents must maintain health insurance coverage for the entire duration of your stay in the US.  If your stay is extended beyond the initial time period, you will be responsible for renewing and extending your health insurance coverage.  Please understand that failure to comply with this mandated health insurance requirement will result in the termination of your participation in this J-1 Exchange Visitor program. CIE must have a current and updated copy of your health insurance policy at all times.  You can visit the Department of State website for more detailed information on the health insurance requirement. https://j1visa.state.gov/sponsors/how-to-administer-a-program/ (click on “Insurance” dropdown) 

In the U.S. certain kinds of elective medical care, such as eyeglasses or dentistry, are not ordinarily covered by insurance and can be quite costly. If at all possible, you should plan on taking care of these needs before leaving for your visit to the U.S.

It is your responsibility to prove that the insurance you did purchase meets the minimum standards (IN ENGLISH).

 Minimum coverage must provide the following: 

  1. Medical benefits of at least of $100,000 per accident/illness
  2. A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident/illness
  3. Expenses associated with the medical evacuation to the home country ($50,000)
  4. Repatriation of remains ($25,000)
  5. Any policy must be underwritten by an insurance corporation having an A.M. Best rating of “A-“or above, and Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of “A-“or above, a Standard & Poor’s Claims-paying Ability rating of “A” or above, a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of “B+” or above, OR backed by the full faith & credit of the government of the exchange visitor’s home country.
  6. An insurance policy secured to fulfill these requirements:
  • May require a waiting period for pre-existing conditions which is reasonable as determined by current industry standards;
  • May include a provision 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
  • Shall not unreasonably exclude coverage for perils inherent to the activities of the exchange program in which the exchange visitor participates.

Depending on the specifics of your agreement with your SIU departmental sponsor, you may or may not be eligible for participation in SIU’s employee health insurance plan.  You should check with your academic departmental sponsor to determine if you will be eligible for SIU’s employee health insurance. Please note that the SIU Employee insurance plan does NOT cover items 3 & 4 (medical evacuation and repatriation).  If you have SIU employee health insurance, you must purchase a separate policy that covers these 2 items.  You may purchase this type of insurance from a variety of companies on-line. 

The State of Illinois All Kids plan does not cover items 3 and 4 associated with medical evacuation and repatriation of remains. If this plan is used as primary coverage, a supplemental policy which covers items 3 and 4 must be submitted in order to meet all of the requirements.