Exchange visitors who visit the USA are involved in wide variety of activities. Such activities may include being an Au Pair, Camp Counselor, College & University Student, Intern, Physician, Professor & Research Scholar, Short Term Scholar, Summer Work Travel, Teacher or Trainer. These activities fall primarily within two categories: educational or non-educational.
The U.S. Department of State requires every participant on J-1 visas and their dependents on a J-2 visa to have a compliant health insurance plan that meets certain minimum requirements. Some insurance plans allow anyone on J1/J2 visa to enroll, while others allow only those participants that engage in educational/research activities at an educational institution.J1/J2 Visa Medical Insurance Requirements
Whether the exchange visitors are visiting individually or in group, the insurance requirements are the same. It is the sponsoring organization's responsibility to make sure each participant has a compliant insurance plan.
While purchasing an exchange visitors group health insurance plan, it is important to consider the advantages and restrictions carefully:
- While a J1 visa group medical insurance plan provides the same coverage as the individual plans, group medical insurance plans are generally 10% cheaper.
- Group insurance eliminates the need for a separate application for each person. Instead, one application for an exchange visitors group medical insurance plan can be done covering everyone in the group.
- Each participant in the group will receive separate insurance ID cards, even through there is just one application and one combined payment.
- Every member of the group must have the same effective date and expiration date.
- The policy maximum, deductible and coinsurance must be the same for every member of the group.
- All members of the group must be participants of the same sponsoring organization. Randomly combining two, totally unrelated exchange visitors is not a legitimate group and therefore, it would not be a valid application. Your group insurance plan can be cancelled or voided due to the ineligibility of a group, leaving a sick or injured person without coverage.
- Beware of insurance agents who may delay processing your application or say they can save you some money if they delay processing. They may be doing this in order to combine you with other customers who are not related to you or your group in any manner.
- Check your policy documents promptly for accuracy. 1) Verify your information is correct, 2) Verify the product bought is the product you asked for, and 3) Ask to see all the policy documents-not only the ID card.
- Immediately voice your concern if you were expecting an individual policy but received a group policy instead.
- Husband and wife or dependent children who are on J1 and J2 visa respectively cannot make a group. In order to make a legitimate group, there must be five or more primary insured persons on J1 visas. Of course, if husband and wife both are on J-1 visas and both participants of the same sponsoring organization, they can purchase a J1 visa group health insurance plan.
- Cancelling or extending the policy just for some of the participants may be troublesome or not allowed at all, as it is a group policy and everyone should be together as a group.
- Some sponsoring organizations (especially the schools) may already provide a group health insurance plan. Therefore, they may not need the medical part of the J-1 visa insurance. However, in order to satisfy the J-1 visa insurance requirements, the participants may still need to purchase insurance for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation. Such participants should consider purchasing Atlas MedEvac which was made specifically for this purpose.
- If you are a sponsoring organization and routinely host J-1 visa exchange visitors, we can make mutually suitable arrangements to provide you J-1 visa insurance on an individual, as well as group, basis. Please contact us.
- If you have a very large group and you have special requirements that you would like the J-1 visa insurance to meet, please contact us. We would be glad to provide you the competitive quotes from several reputed insurance companies in the market to provide you the most suitable plan.