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Important Health Insurance Information for J-1 Visa Holders

I. REGULATIONS:

As part of the United States Information Agency (USIA) J Exchange-Visitor visa regulations, all J-1 and J-2 (spouses and children) visa holders are required to have health insurance with the following provisions:

  • Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per illness or accident.
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per illness or accident.
  • Coverage of pre-existing conditions after a reasonable waiting period.
  • Payment by insurance company of at least 75% of the costs of medical care (the patient must not be required to pay more than 25%).
  • Payment for repatriation of remains (in case of death) in the amount $7,500.
  • Payment for medical evacuation to home country in the amount of $10,000.
  • Coverage of activities inherent to the Exchange Visitor Program.

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

  • A.M. Best rating of “A-” or above
  • Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. rating of “A-i” or above
  • Standard and Poor’s claims-paying ability rating of “A-” or above
  • Weiss Research Inc. rating of “B+” or above


An exchange-visitor who willfully fails to maintain the insurance coverage, or makes a material misrepresentation to Boston College concerning such coverage, will be in violation or his/her immigration status and subject to termination as a J-1.

II. PROCEDURES:

A) If you are paid by Boston College and…

1) are a full-time faculty member with an academic appointment of at least one semester, or

2) are a full-time researcher or scholar with an academic appointment of at least one semester, or a part-time (at least 20 hours a week) researcher or scholar with an appointment of at least one academic year then you are eligible to enroll in a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) through the Boston College group plan which will provide you with health services and insurance. You can obtain information on HMO’s from the Boston College Benefits Office at (617) 552-3329

However, in order to meet all of the United States Information Agency’s provisions, as are outlined, you ALSO need to enroll in an additional insurance plan which covers repatriation of remains and medical evacuation to your home country.


Two insurance companies which offer policies just for repatriation and medical evacuation are:

Harbour Group, L.L.C.
www.hginsurance.com
email: info@hginsurance.com
Toll free in the U.S. 1(800) 252 8160 or (937) 748 5200

International Educational Exchange Services
www.foreignsure.com (choose the “Smart Plan”)
Toll free in the U.S. 1 866 433 7462 or 607 272 2707
Fax 607 272 2703

International SOS Assistance, Inc.
www.internationalsos.com
In the U.S. toll free: (800) 523 2930 or Tel: (215) 244-2227

B) If you are not being paid by Boston College, or do not qualify to enroll in a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), then you must enroll in an insurance plan which meets all of the United States Information Agency’s provisions and rating requirements as are outlined. Several insurance companies with policies that fulfill these requirements are:

(note: Often you will need to choose individual student plans even if you are a scholar)

HTH Worldwide
www.hthstudents.com
In the U.S. toll free: (866) 281-1668 or (610) 254-8700
Fax (610) 254-8797

Harbour Group, L.L.C.
www.hginsurance.com
email: info@hginsurance.com
Toll free in the U.S. (800) 252 8160 or (937) 748 5200

International Educational Exchange Services
www.foreignsure.com (choose the “Passport Plan”)
Toll free in the U.S. (866) 433 7462 or (607) 272 2707
Fax: (607) 272 2703

International Student Organization (must be an ISO member)
In the U.S. toll free: (800) 244 1180
Fax: (212) 262 8920
www.isoa.org


J-1 Exchange Visitor Students
The Boston College Health insurance plan, administered through Koster Insurance Company, meets the minimum health insurance requirements. All students will be enrolled and billed automatically for the Boston College medical insurance at the time of registration. Students with spouses and/or children must complete a dependent enrollment plan (available from University Health Services or through Koster Insurance Company) in order to obtain coverage for their family members. (See “Responsibilities of International Students” for more information.)


You can come to the OISS to obtain informational brochures for some of the insurance companies listed above.  The same information can also be found on the company’s website. While you are not required to choose any of these plans, they do meet all of the USIA’s minimum criteria. If you have your own insurance coverage, please consult the company from whom you have purchased the policy to determine if it meets all of the provisions and rating requirements that are outlined in Section I “regulations” on the first page. Insurance backed by the full faith and credit of the exchange-visitor’s government meets the rating requirement. Please be aware that OISS is not able to advise you on which health plan to choose or on the qualification of another health insurance policy.