A Division of the International Studies Office

J-1 Health Insurance Requirement

J-1 Health Insurance Requirement

Every J-1 and J-2 nonimmigrant is required by law to maintain health insurance coverage for the duration of their program.  The current level of coverage mandated by the US government requires the following minimum levels of coverage:

  • $100,000 per accident or illness with a deductible of not more than $500
  • Repatriation of remains, in the event of death, in the amount of $25,000
  • Expenses associated with medical evacuation to your home country or to your country of permanent residence in the amount of $50,000.

The exchange visitor regulations also impose the following restrictions on insurance policies secured to fulfill these requirements:

(1) may require a waiting period for pre-existing conditions which is reasonable as determined by current industry standards;

(2) may include provision for co-insurance under the terms of which the exchange visitor may be required to pay up to 25 percent of the covered benefits per accident or illness; and

(3) shall not unreasonably exclude coverage for perils inherent to the activities of the exchange program in which the exchange visitor participates.

In addition, any policy must be underwritten by an insurance corporation having an A.M. Best ratingof “A” or above; a McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor’s Claims-paying Ability rating of “A” or above; a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of “B+” or above; a Fitch Ratings, Inc. rating of “A” or above; a Moody’s Investor Services rating of “A3” or above; OR backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor’s home country.

The U.S. government mandates strict adherence to the requirement under the J-1 program for all J-1 and J-2 visa status holders to maintain health insurance coverage for the duration of their program in the United States. 

Visitors can purchase any insurance policy that meets these requirements, but the policy must clearly state that all provisions are included.  If the policy documentation does not clearly include all provisions in English we will need a letter or some other form of confirmation from the insurance provider that attests that all provisions are met.  Evidence of appropriate insurance coverage must be documented by the International Studies Office.  There are many companies that offer insurance that will meet these requirements.

Please note that all students enrolled for degree programs at the University of Virginia are subject to the University's hard waiver insurance requirements.

If the J-1 Exchange Visitor will be employed by the University of Virginia and will be eligible for health insurance as part of the benefits package provided by the University the employee can only choose the CHOICE program.  The BASIC and VALUE programs do NOT meet the US government requirements for coverage due to the high deductible levels.  In addition, if the employment start date is anything other than the first of the month the insurance will not become effective until the 1st of the following month.  The employee will need to obtain appropriate insurance to cover the gap in health insurance from the start of employment until UVa's insurance becomes effective.