If you are J-1 exchange visitor in the US, you must carry J1 visa insurance for yourself and your J-2 dependents for the full duration of the J program. Government regulations stipulate that if one willfully fails to carry exchange visitor health insurance, then the J-1 sponsor must terminate the exchange visitor program and report the termination to the United States Department of State in Washington D.C.
It is dangerous to be in the US without adequate health insurance. In many countries, the government bears the expense of health care for its citizens and sometimes for visitors. By contrast, individuals and families in the U.S. are responsible for such costs. Since a single day of hospitalization and medical treatment can cost thousands of dollars, it is prudent to be covered by adequate insurance.
J 1 Visa Insurance - Specifications
The Department of State has established the following requirements for the type and limits of insurance for J1 visa holders required to maintain J1 or J2 status:
J1 Visa Health Insurance (Exchange Visitor Health Insurance) policies must provide "medical benefits of at least $50,000 for each accident or illness." This means that an acceptable policy cannot have its medical maximum lower than $50,000 in benefits for each accident or illness.
If a J visa holder dies in the U.S., then the policy must provide at least $7,500 in repatriation benefits to send the remains to the home country.
If, , because of a serious illness or injury, one has to be sent home on the advice of a doctor, the policy must pay up to $10,000 for the expenses of emergency medical evacuation.
Policies covering J1 visa health insurance (also known as Exchange visitor health insurance) may establish a waiting period before covering pre-existing conditions (that is, health problems that were present before the insurance plan was bought), as long as the waiting period is reasonable by current standards in the insurance business.
If you elect to satisfy the insurance requirement through a policy issued in your home country, the policy must be backed by the full faith and credit of your government. Otherwise, the company providing the insurance must meet minimum rating requirements established by Department of State (an A.M. Best rating of "A-" or better, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of "A-1" or better, a Standard & Poor's Claims-Paying Ability rating of "A-" or better, or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of "B+" or better).
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