International Student Medical Insurance

ACA Requirements and Exemptions for International Students

ACA Requirements and Exemptions - International Students

What does ACA Mean?

ACA stands for Affordable Care Act. The full name of this law is PPACA, or Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. However, many people commonly refer to it by its nickname, Obamacare.

The ACA mandates that all US citizens, permanent residents and certain other US residents maintain minimum adequate coverage throughout the year.

ACA Exemptions for Students

There are several exemptions to the ACA mandate. One very important exemption is how it relates to International Students on F and J visas as well as other J visa holders.

The mandate applies to people who are considered US residents by the IRS (tax authority in USA).

If you are an international student or a dependent of an international student on either F visa or J visa, you don't have to purchase ACA compliant health insurance for the first five years of your US stay, so ACA student insurance isn't a requirement for you.

If you are non-student on a J visa such as Au Pair, Work and Travel, Trainees, Interns, Teachers and Counselors, you don't have to purchase ACA studeny insurance for the first two years in the U.S.

After five years (or two years in the case of non-student J visa holders), you must purchase ACA compliant health insurance if you meet the Substantial Presence Test by IRS, which is:

  • Physically present in the US for at least 31 days in the current calendar year, and
  • The total number of days present in the US exceeds 183 days by adding the following days:
    • All days present in the current calendar year, plus
    • 1/3 of the days present in the previous calendar year, plus
    • 1/6 of the days present in the calendar year two years ago.

That means that vast majority of the F and J visa holders are exempt from having to purchase ACA compliant medical insurance.

F Visa Insurance Requirements for Students

The US government has not specified any insurance requirements for F visa holders.

Even though not required, many schools and universities in the US mandate that all international students enroll in ACA compliant group insurance provided by the school. In that case, students have no other choice than to do so.

Some schools may offer their own insurance, but allow students to purchase an insurance plan provided by private companies as long as it meets the school's minimum requirements, which are not the same requirements that make a plan ACA compliant. International student insurance plans are more affordable for international students; as long as the plan purchased from a private company meets the schools requirements that is suitable to the school. There are many such international student medical insurance plans available for instant purchase online. After purchasing such insurance, we can assist with getting the waiver form completed.

J Visa Insurance Requirements for Exchange Visitors

The US Department of State has specified the minimum requirements for J visa insurance.

Some sponsoring organizations let the participants purchase any compliant J visa insurance.

Some schools and universities provide their ACA compliant group health insurance that everyone has to enroll in. However, in order to satisfy J visa insurance requirements, they would be required to purchase supplemental emergency medical evacuation and repatriation insurance coverage.

The following chart will help you understand the ACA requirements and exemptions easily.

F and J Visa PPACA Eligibility

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Visiting USA?

Healthcare costs are very high in the U.S.

Buy U.S. based visitors insurance and enjoy your trip.

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Traveling abroad?

Did you know that your insurance may not cover you abroad or that it may only provide limited coverage?

Purchase travel medical insurance that includes emergency medical evacuation.

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New immigrant to USA?

You are not eligible to enroll in Medicare for the first 5 years.

Purchase new immigrant medical insurance to bridge the gap.

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Going on a vacation?

You could lose your non-refundable trip costs if you had to cancel your trip.

Buy a trip cancellation insurance package plan and be worry-free.

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Are you an exchange visitor to USA?

The U.S. Department of State requires all J visa holders to purchase compliant insurance.

Buy J visa medical insurance to meet your requirements.

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Traveling to Europe?

Schengen countries require most non-US citizens to purchase Schengen visa insurance.

Make an instant purchase online and get instant visa letter.

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Traveling frequently throughout the year?

You don't need to purchase travel insurance for every trip.

Purchase annual multi trip travel insurance for your travels.

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International student in the U.S.?

Most schools require international students to purchase health insurance.

Purchase international student health insurance that meets most school requirements.

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