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J-1 Exchange Visitors must maintain health insurance coverage that meets the minimum criteria set by the U.S. Department of State for themselves (and any J-2 dependents) for the duration of their J-1 program. Prior to issuing form DS-2019, OIS requires Exchange Visitors to verify their understanding of J-1 Health Insurance requirements as outlined below.

Health Insurance Minimum Requirements

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per person per accident or illness
  • Deductible of no more than $500 per accident or illness
  • Medical Evacuation up to $50,000
  • Repatriation of remains up to $25,000
  • Covers pre-existing conditions after a reasonable waiting period 
  • Includes provision for co-payment that does not exceed 25% co-pay by the Exchange Visitor
  • Does not exclude benefits for perils inherent to the activities of the Exchange Visitor’s program
  • Must be underwritten by an insurance company that meets the rating requirements of the Department of State or is backed by the full faith and credit of the Exchange Visitor’s government.

J-1 Exchange Visitors and their J-2 dependents may be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. (Per 22 CFR 62.14(a))

In addition to the above regulatory obligation to maintain health insurance while on an active J-1 program (the dates indicated in Box 3 of form DS-2019), J-1 Exchange Visitors are strongly encouraged to secure a temporary/travel health insurance plan that begins the day of arrival to the U.S. (if entering the U.S. before the start date in Box 3), and during the 30 day grace period following the program end date/until departure from the U.S. Many individuals are unaware of the cost of medical services in the U.S. and the exceptionally high expenses that may be incurred if a medical event occurs while an individual does not have insurance coverage. Individuals are fully liable for medical expenses that are incurred without insurance coverage.

Failure to Maintain Health Insurance

Willful failure on the part of the Exchange Visitor and/or any J-2 dependents to maintain the required insurance will result in the termination of their J-1 exchange visitor program.

Insurance through Johns Hopkins

J-1 Exchange Visitors should contact their JHU hosting department to determine whether they are eligible and/or required to receive health insurance coverage through a Johns Hopkins-sponsored health insurance plan (which meets the J-1 requirements outlined above). While some EV’s may not be eligible for a JHU insurance plan, others are required to enroll in a JHU insurance plan.  If health insurance will be provided by JHU for a J-1 EV but not provided for their J-2 dependents, the J-1 EV must purchase separate insurance coverage that complies with the J-1 regulations for all J-2 dependents.

Private Health Insurance Providers

J-1 Exchange Visitors who are not eligible for Johns Hopkins insurance benefits are responsible for selecting an insurance plan that meets the criteria of the J-1 Health Insurance requirement above.  It is important to contact your Johns Hopkins host department/school before purchasing an outside plan to make sure that the plan meets any requirements your host department/school may have that are above and beyond the J-1 requirements. 

You have many options to choose from for health insurance coverage. OIS does not endorse or make specific recommendations for any insurance plan option. You are advised to read any plan you are considering carefully and make the best decision based on your personal situation. More information is provided below.  

Insurance from your Home Country

Some Exchange Visitors are provided with health insurance coverage by their home country. This is a good option if your insurance meets all the J-1 requirements above and covers you while you are in the U.S. for the duration of your J-1 Program. Insurance must be backed by the full faith and credit of your home country’s government.

Insurance from another U.S. Insurance Provider

Many U.S.-based insurance options do not meet the J-1 requirements. However, there are some private companies that offer insurance plans designed specifically for J-1 Exchange Visitors, which meet the J-1 requirements and are easily found online. You should confirm the legitimacy of any plan by verifying that it meets the J-1 regulatory requirements described in 22 CFR 62.14 and reflected in the “Health Insurance Minimum Requirements” section above. While OIS cannot make specific plan recommendations, we have verified with JHU Benefits that the companies below offer plans that meet J-1 minimum requirements:

If you enroll in one of these plans that meets the J-1 requirements, please be sure that you are also enrolling in a plan that meets your specific insurance needs and preferences. 

If you have questions about J-1 Exchange Visitor status, please contact the OIS at [email protected].