J Visa Regulations Regarding Health Insurance Requirements

U.S. Government regulations require J-1 scholars and J-2 dependents to have health insurance. As of May 15, 2015, the J-1 regulations require the following with respect to health insurance coverage:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • Payment for repatriation (preparation and transportation of remains to home country) in case of death in the amount of $25,000
  • Payment for medical evacuation (transportation to home country on advice of attending physician) in the amount of $50,000
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
  • Coverage of pre-existing conditions after a reasonable waiting period
  • Payment by the insurance company of at least 75% of the costs of medical care (the patient must not be required to pay more than 25% of medical care costs)

To comply with these regulations, health insurance policies must be underwritten by corporations having one of the following: 

  • A.M. Best rating of A- or above
  • McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor’s Claims- paying Ability rating of ‘A- or above
  • Weiss Research, Inc. rating of ‘‘B+’’ or above
  • Fitch Ratings, Inc. rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above
  • Moody’s Investor Services rating of ‘‘A3’’ or above.

Insurance backed by the full faith and credit of the exchange visitor's (J-1 scholars) government will meet this requirement. The regulations state that any exchange visitor (or accompanying dependent) who fails to maintain health insurance coverage as detailed above or who misrepresents such coverage will be in violation of U.S. Government regulations and shall be subject to termination as an exchange visitor.

Harvard's health insurance plans meet the requirements of the J visa except for the repatriation and evacuation requirements. The University has agreed to cover the costs of medical evacuation and repatriation for J visa holders on Harvard's Exchange Visitor Program. The HIO has information on stand-alone repatriation and medical evacuation plans for those not on Harvard's J visa program. The ISHIP Plan also meets the J visa regulations.