Seeing a Doctor
Medical Insurance Requirements for J-1 Exchange Visitors
Medical (Health) Insurance Requirements – Government regulations require all J-1 Exchange Visitors (EV) and their dependents to carry medical insurance throughout the period of participation in the Exchange Visitor Program as a condition of maintaining legal status. You may choose coverage that meets the needs of you and your family members; however, the following minimum coverage must be met (Note new insurance requirements effective on May 15, 2015) :
|Item||New Levels (effective 05/15/2015)|
|Repatriation of remains||$25,000|
|Maximum Deductible per accident or illness||$500|
Additionally, all J exchange visitors, including J-2 spouses and dependent(s), may be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. For more information on the Affordable Care Act, see http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/rights/ and https://www.internationalstudentinsurance.com/explained/the-aca-and-international-students.php (note that J-1 scholars and J-1 students have different exempt periods: 2 years vs. 5 years).
Failure to maintain this insurance requirement throughout your program duration constitutes a VIOLATION OF STATUS. This is a mandatory requirement and no exceptions can be made.
For students and/or visiting scholars of the university, UConn has a health plan through Bailey Agencies, Inc which you are eligible to purchase for yourself. You may find information online at www.baileyagencies.com/college.html. Bailey Agencies charges $211.00 per month for an individual. The estimated cost for a single applicant is $2532.00 per year. These costs increase every year. Additional fees are charged for adding a spouse and any children.
If You Are Employed By UConn:
J-1 scholars employed by UConn may (or may not) receive employee insurance benefits through Blue Cross/Anthem or United Healthcare(UHC). Please check your employment offer letter or visiting scholar invitation letter for details about your employee insurance benefit eligibility. Employee benefit information can be found by visiting Human Resources at the following link: http://hr.uconn.edu/health_dental_life/
Please note: The UConn employee medical insurance plan (i.e. Blue Cross/Anthem, UHC) does not meet all of the Exchange Visitor Program insurance requirements. See the next section “Supplemental Insurance Coverage” to ensure fully meeting your legal insurance requirement.
Note for UConn Graduate Assistants (GA’s): Certain insurance plans for UConn GA’s carry a deductible for out-of-network medical visits that exceed the maximum deductible allowed by the J-1 visa regulations. If you elect to purchase the employee insurance please take care to choose a plan that does not carry a deductible of over $500. In addition, UConn Graduate Assistants who have only the employee insurance must also purchase supplemental coverage for those items not covered under the employee plan (see above).
If you are not eligible for insurance benefits, you will need to secure your own medical insurance coverage. This coverage may be purchased through your own chosen insurance provider (within or outside the U.S) or can be purchased through the UConn Health Plan for Visiting Scholars (see below “J-1 Visiting Scholars – How to Enroll in UConn Health Insurance”).
Supplemental Health Insurance Coverage:
Please note: The UConn employee medical insurance plan (i.e. Blue Cross/Anthem, UHC) does not meet all of the Exchange Visitor Program insurance requirements (such as repatriation and medical evacuation). Therefore, if you are employed by UConn and participate with the university health coverage, and have met all other J-1 insurance requirements within that designated plan, you must purchase supplemental coverage in addition to your UConn policy in order to cover such items as repatriation and medical evacuation. Only after purchasing the supplemental coverage will you fully and legally meet the requirements of your J-1 status.
J-1 Students – How to Enroll in UConn Health Insurance:
International Students in J-1 status who do not have their own insurance coverage and need to purchase UConn insurance should contact: email@example.com
J-1 Visiting Scholars – How To Enroll in UConn Health Insurance:
J-1 Visiting Scholars and their J-2 dependents, who need to purchase the university health insurance coverage, must contact Katie Kruszewski via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone: 860-326-3085
Bailey Agencies Inc.
15 Thames Street, Suite 100
Groton CT 06340
Temporary Insurance Coverage (Travel Insurance):
All J visa holders (J-1 principal and J-2 dependents) must have the required medical insurance coverage at all times: from the day that you obtain J status (either at a port of entry or through change of status application) to the program end date of the most recent DS-2019.
If you are between jobs, traveling, waiting for coverage from another health insurance plan to start, and know that you only need coverage for a specific period of time, short-term health insurance may be a great option for you. You must ensure active coverage begins upon your arrival to the U.S. See below “Optional Insurance Providers: Links & Resources.”
Optional Insurance Providers – Links & Resources:
Listed below are helpful insurance links and resources including the websites of providers that your fellow J-1 exchange visitors have experienced during their stay at UConn:
- http://www.isoa.org/iso_med_main.aspx (Information Brochure Available in our Office)
- https://www.compassstudenthealthinsurance.com/ (Information Brochure Available in our Office)
- http://www.hginsurance.com/ (Information Brochure Available in our Office)
- http://www.ehealthinsurance.com/short-term-health-insurance (Short Term Health Insurance)
PLEASE NOTE: This list is courtesy information only as our office does not recommend providers or review coverage for our Visiting Scholars. The examples of insurance providers above were provided by fellow J-1 visa holders while here at UConn. It is the sole responsibility of the J-1 visa holder to abide by the requirements for insurance coverage. Please contact Bailey Agencies, Inc. for more options.
J-1 Exchange Visitor Medical Insurance Requirements (22 C.F.R. § 62.14)
a) Sponsors must require that all exchange visitors have insurance in effect that covers the exchange visitors for sickness or accidents during the period of time that they participate in the sponsor’s exchange visitor program. In addition, sponsors must require that accompanying spouses and dependents of exchange visitors have insurance for sickness and accidents. Sponsors must inform all exchange visitors that they, and any accompanying spouse and dependent(s), also may be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
b) The period of required coverage is the actual duration of the exchange visitor’s participation in the sponsor’s exchange visitor program as recorded in SEVIS in the “Program Begin Date,” and as applicable, the “Program End Date,” “Effective Program End Date,” or “Effective Date of Termination” fields. Sponsors are not authorized to charge fees to their sponsored exchange visitors for the provision of insurance coverage beyond any demonstrable and justifiable staff time. Sponsors are not required to, but may, offer supplemental “entry to exit” coverage (i.e., coverage from the time the exchange visitor departs his or her home country until he or she returns). If the sponsor provides health insurance, or arranges for health insurance to be offered the exchange visitor, via payroll deduction at the host organization, the exchange visitor must voluntarily authorize this action in writing and also be given the opportunity to make other arrangements to obtain insurance. These authorizations must be kept on file by the sponsor. Minimum coverage must provide:
|Levels Effective 05/15/2015|
|(1) medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;|
|(2) repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000;|
|(3) expenses associated with medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000; and|
|(4) a deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.|
c) An insurance policy secured to fulfill the requirements of this section:
1) May require a waiting period for pre-existing conditions that is reasonable as determined by current industry standards;
2) May include provisions for co-insurance under the terms of which the exchange visitor may be required to pay up to 25% of the covered benefits per accident or illness; and
3) Must not unreasonably exclude coverage for perils inherent to the activities of the exchange program in which the exchange visitor participates.
d) Any policy, plan, or contract secured to fill the above requirements must, at a minimum, be:
1) Underwritten by an insurance corporation having an A.M. Best rating of “A¥” or above; a McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor’s Claims-paying Ability rating of “A¥” or above; a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of “B+” or above; a Fitch Ratings, Inc. rating of “A¥” or above; a Moody’s Investor Services rating of “A3” or above; or such other rating as the Department of State may from time to time specify; or
2) Backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor’s home country; or
3) Part of a health benefits program offered on a group basis to employees or enrolled students by a designated sponsor; or
4) Offered through or underwritten by a federally qualified Health Maintenance Organization or eligible Competitive Medical Plan as determined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
e) Federal, state or local government agencies; state colleges and universities; and public community colleges may, if permitted by law, self-insure any or all of the above-required insurance coverage.
f) At the request of a non-governmental sponsor of an exchange visitor program, and upon a showing that such sponsor has funds readily available and under its control sufficient to meet the requirements of this section, the Department of State may permit the sponsor to self-insure or to accept full financial responsibility for such requirements.
g) The Department of State may, in its sole discretion, condition its approval of self-insurance or the acceptance of full financial responsibility by the non-governmental sponsor by requiring such sponsor to secure a payment bond in favor of the Department of State guaranteeing the sponsor’s obligations hereunder.
h) Accompanying spouses and dependents are required to be covered by insurance in the amounts set forth in paragraph (b) of this section. Sponsors must inform exchange visitors of this requirement, in writing, in advance of the exchange visitor’s arrival in the United States.
i) Exchange visitors who willfully fail to maintain the insurance coverage set forth above while a participant in an exchange visitor program or who make material misrepresentations to the sponsor concerning such coverage will be deemed to be in violation of these regulations and will be subject to termination as an exchange visitor.
j) Sponsors must terminate an exchange visitor’s participation in their program if the sponsor determines that the exchange visitor or any accompanying spouse or dependent willfully fails to remain in compliance with this section.
Protect Yourself From Scams
Unfortunately, many international students can fall victim to criminals impersonating government officials online, via email or by telephone. They may claim to be officials from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other agencies. These criminals try to gain access to personal information (name, date of birth, social security number, address) or they may try to scare students into paying them money. Read through the information on this page and follow the steps below to protect yourself from falling victim to a criminal/scammer.
- Government officials will not call/email you asking for money.
Contact ISSS if you receive a phone call/email from someone claiming to be a government official asking for money. Do NOT pay by phone. Do NOT give out or “confirm” your date of birth or your social security number by phone. Collect all the information you can about the office (name of the government office, amount of money, reason you must pay) and tell them you need to speak with ISSS first. HANG UP THE PHONE!
- Government officials will not use fear!
Government officials will never threaten to immediately arrest or deport you if you don’t pay a fee or a tax over the phone. Many criminals/scammers may tell you that if you don’t pay the police will be dispatched to your apartment to arrest you. This is a scam. HANG UP THE PHONE!
- Government officials will never ask you to pay a debt using gift cards.
Government officials will never ask you to pay a debt by purchasing gift cards from Target, Walmart, Amazon etc. If anyone asks you to pay a debt this way, this is a scam.
- Government offices (IRS, USCIS, DHS) will send paper notices by postal mail.
Government office will always send paper notices by postal mail with updates about your status, pending cases or if there are fees owed. If you receive an unexpected paper notice from a government office come to ISSS to verify its authenticity.
- Government offices may email you.
The embassy/consulate in your home country may send email to the email address you used to schedule your visa appointment. The Student & Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) may send you email if you have not paid the SEVIS I-901 fee. Come to ISSS with these notices to verify their authenticity.
- ISSS WILL contact you by email or telephone.
If you receive an email/voicemail from ISSS, this is serious UConn business and you should follow up with ISSS staff about the issue.
- Some legitimate institutions will require your personal information.
For example if you have a bank account in the U.S. they will require your date of birth and your social security number, but they will never call you and ask for this over the phone. They will either ask you to come into the bank with this information or postal mail you official paperwork to submit to the bank. Similarly, when you apply for services that involve a check of your credit history (e.g. apartment rental, mobile phone purchase), you will be asked on the application form to provide your social security number, if you have one.
- Know about the different types of scams:
- IRS Impersonators (claiming you owe unpaid taxes)
- Immigration Impersonators (claiming to be USCIS, DHS, “U.S. Immigration” telling you that you owe an international student “tax”, “fee”, or “immigrant tax”, and you will be deported)
- Kidnapping Scam – you are told that your family overseas has been kidnapped and you must pay for their release. Scammers scare you and keep you on the phone so you cannot contact your family. Ask for proof, ask to speak with your family, use Facebook, messenger apps, twitter etc. to connect and confirm your family’s situation, before you send them money, believing they are actually kidnapped.
- Identity Theft – Identity theft is when criminals steal your personal identifying information (e.g. SSN, Date of Birth, ID information) and use it for financial gain. Learn more about how to protect yourself!
- Job Scams – Be wary of companies that ask you pay them to help you get a job. Always contact ISSS and make sure you have proper work authorization before you work off-campus.
- Online Dating/Social Media Scams – making new friends online is great, but beware of people you don’t know who may try to lure you off of the dating site or get you to share personal information with them for financial gain.
- Apartments for Rent and Items for Sale – be careful when purchasing items from individuals advertised online. Never go to a stranger’s house alone to purchase an item. Meet in a public place, bring a friend or notify your friend of your whereabouts. Be careful not to pay for a car or apartment without testing it or viewing it first. Some scammers will post photos of apartments or houses they do not own and try to get you to pay a deposit to them. Always visit legitimate resources to search for apartments like offcampushousing.uconn.edu or the website of a realty company.
What to do if you feel you are being scammed
- Report the scam to UConn Police (860)486-4800
- Report the scam to ISSS (860)486-3855 or email@example.com
- Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission
- Report Identity Theft (SSN, Personal ID or Debit Credit Card) to Federal Trade Commission
- Report the scan to the agency or company from which the scammer claims to be calling, in the case of fraudulent calls. All government agencies will have a section of their website that talks about fraudulent activity and scams, and how to report it to that office.
Federal Trade Commission Publication: Spotting, Avoiding & Reporting Scams: A Fraud Handbook for Recent Refugees and Immigrants
Federal Trade Commission Publication: IRS Imposter Scams
Federal Trade Commission Publication: Online Dating Scams
Federal Trade Commission Publication: Job Scams
USCIS: Avoid Scams
USCIS: Most Common Scams