If you have recently applied for a J1 visa for the US, you have probably noticed that having J1 visa health insurance is a mandatory requirement.
One of the most important things to plan before taking a trip to the US is your travel health insurance. Regardless of the duration of your trip, health insurance for the US is necessary because it will minimize the cost of medical expenses if you happen to have an accident or fall ill during your trip.
Who Needs J1 Insurance?
Everyone who is eligible for a J1 visa has to get health insurance. Although for most types of US visas, health insurance is optional, J1 visa applicants have to purchase health insurance or risk losing their visas. This includes:
- Au Pairs
- Camp Counselors
- Government visitors
- International visitors
- Professors and Research Scholars
- Short-term Scholars
- Specialists in different areas
- University Students
- Secondary School Students
- Work and Travel Participants
- Dependents of J1 visa holders
Getting J1 insurance is necessary due to the high cost of healthcare in the US. A simple visit to the doctor in the US can cost hundreds of dollars, without even receiving any medical treatment. If you get into an accident or get sick, and need an ambulance, just the ambulance ride can cost thousands of dollars. If you are not insured, you have to cover all of the expenses yourself, which can reach tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds. This is why most people who visit the US get visitors health insurance, even if they don’t technically have to.
J1 Visa Health Insurance Requirements
J1 visa holders have to purchase health insurance which is in line with the requirements set by the US Department of State. The J1 visa insurance requirements are:
- The plan must cover medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
- The plan must have a deductible of no more than $500 per accident or illness
- The plan must cover repatriation of remains of $25,000
- The plan must cover any expenses related to emergency medical evacuation to your country of residence amounting to $50,000
Additionally, the J1 visa health insurance plan has to be underwritten by an insurance company that has one of the following qualities:
- An A.M. Best rating of at least “A-“
- An Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (IS) rating of at least “A-1”
- A Standard and Poors Claims Paying Ability rating of at least “A-“
- A Weiss Research, Inc. rating of at least B+
You can compare J1 Visa health insurance plans that meet the requirements and get a free quote here.
What Does J1 Visa Health Insurance Cover?
Health insurance companies in the US have different coverage plans based on the policy maximum you choose (ie. how much coverage you want). Most companies cover the following medical procedures, although at varying degrees based on which plan you choose:
- Doctor’s visit/consultation
- Hospitalization (the cost of the hospital room)
- The cost of prescription drugs and medicine
- Surgical procedures
- Emergency services, such as the ambulance and ER
- The cost of lab tests and X-rays
- Physical therapy
Some health insurance plans also cover the following:
- AD&D (accidental death and dismemberment)
- Acute onset of a pre-existing condition
The amount of coverage depends on the specific plan that you choose. You can compare health insurance plans for exchange students at comparison marketplaces such as Insubuy.
How to Get J1 Visa Health Insurance?
It is the responsibility of the person or organization sponsoring the J1 visa applicant to make sure that they have adequate health insurance coverage.
Before purchasing any coverage, however, you must make sure that the plan meets the J1 insurance requirements. This means you have to read through the policies of different plans and choose the one that suits you best.
Things to Keep in Mind When Purchasing J1 Visa Health Insurance
- Make sure it meets the J1 insurance requirements
- The cost of a J1 visa health insurance plan increases alongside the age of the applicant
- Health insurance plans may cost higher in some US states than in others
- If you have a pre-existing condition, it will not be covered under your health insurance policy. However, the acute onset of a pre-existing condition
- If you have any dependents, they must also have J1 visa health insurance.
Best J1 Visa Health Insurance Plans
Here are the top three health insurance plans that meet J1 visa requirements: