Health Insurance for Visiting Scholars
Medical care in the United States is very expensive. Therefore, it is very important that you have adequate medical insurance to cover medical expenses for you and any accompanying family members. In addition, the U.S. Department of State requires all J-1 and J-2 visa holders to have insurance during your exchange program that meets specific coverage benefits. You should arrange for your insurance coverage before your departure to the U.S.
|Medical benefits||$100,000 per accident/illness|
|Repatriation of remains||$25,000|
|Maximum Deductible per accident or illness||$500|
In addition, the plan must 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
2) Backed by the full faith and credit of your home country government
If you do not maintain insurance coverage for you and your accompanying family members that meets the coverage requirements stated above, then you will be in violation of J-1 visa regulations and your SEVIS record may be subject to termination.
Requirement to Report Medical Insurance to ISSS
All exchange visitors must report any changes to their insurance plan information using the J-1 Exchange Visitor Medical Insurance Confirmation Form. We will also ask for this form any time you request a benefit such as a travel signature or program extension. Remember that it is a violation of your J-1 visa status if you knowingly do not have coverage for you and any J-2 dependents, which meets the J-1 visa benefit requirements.
If you are not a paid employee of UConn (Gratis Appointments):
Option 1: (Recommended): Enroll in the UConn sponsored insurance plan. This insurance is available to purchase on a monthly basis (or longer) and it meets the requirements of the J-1 visa program.
To purchase the UConn sponsored insurance plan, please complete the Enrollment Form, and submit it with payment to Bailey Agencies. Costs are listed on the enrollment form.
Payment for the entire premium can be made by check/money order made payable to UCONN Health Plan, or by credit card. All credit card purchases are subject to a 4% processing fee. For payment by credit card, please contact Katie Kruszewski from Bailey Agencies, Inc. at kkruszewski@SmithBrothersUSA.com .
Option 2: Enroll in a plan that you purchase through a provider in your home country, which covers you in the United States. You are responsible to make sure that it meets the benefit and plan requirement listed above. Please inform yourself on how to use the insurance here, in the case that you need medical services. If your plan requires you to pay the costs up-front and seek reimbursement from them, this may be very expensive.
Option 3: Purchase insurance through a plan designed for international students and scholars to the U.S. Many U.S. insurance companies sell plans specifically for international students and scholars to provide coverage on a short term or long-term basis. You are responsible to make sure the plan meets the J-1 visa requirements – if you are unsure, contact the insurance company.
If you are a paid employee of UConn:
You may be eligible to purchase the UConn employee insurance coverage. Please check your employment offer letter or visiting scholar invitation letter for details regarding employee insurance benefits. UConn Human Resources lists benefit information for adjunct faculty and other temporary employees and for postdoctoral fellows.
The UConn employee medical insurance plans do not meet all J-1 visa insurance requirements. If you choose the UConn employee insurance as your primary plan, please note that:
1) You must purchase a supplemental insurance plan to cover benefits for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains. Please email email@example.com to receive a list of sample supplemental insurance providers (we cannot recommend any one provider).
2) If you purchase the family plan, the maximum deductible for out-of-network costs exceeds the allowed maximum deductible amount of $500. You may need to seek an alternate plan that is more fully compliant with the regulations.
3) The employee insurance will not become effective until the first day of the month after you begin your employment. Therefore, it is important that you purchase temporary comprehensive insurance that meets the J-1 visa requirements to cover you and any accompanying family members for the first month of your stay.
UConn employees may also choose to enroll in any of the options described above for scholars who are not paid by UConn.
Accompanying Family Members
If you are on a J-1 visa, you are responsible to obtain insurance for your J-2 visa holder dependents that meets the same standards as required for J-1 visa holders. This coverage is required through the program dates on the Form DS-2019, even if your dependent is not in the United States.
Please note that the State of Connecticut Husky Insurance program is not intended for enrollment by family members of international students and scholars. This program is state-funded and intended to provide low income children with healthcare coverage; all international students and scholars are required to demonstrate in advance that they have sufficient financial resources to support their stay in the United States for themselves and all family members.
Affordable Care Act
All international students and scholars, including dependent family members, may be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, which is a law designed to support health care coverage of all individuals in the United States. For more information, please see U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and this article explaining the ACA to international students and scholars.
Many terms used to describe insurance coverage may be new to international visitors. Please find below some helpful definitions from Healthcare.gov related to health insurance:
Benefits: The health care items or services covered under a health insurance plan. Covered benefits and excluded services are defined in the health insurance plan’s coverage documents.
Excluded Services: Health care services that your health insurance plan doesn’t pay for or cover.
Deductible: The amount you pay for covered health care services before your insurance plan starts to pay.
Copayment: A fixed amount you pay for a health care service after you have paid your deductible (if you have one).
Inpatient Care: Health care that you get when you’re admitted as an inpatient to a health care facility, like a hospital.
Hospital Outpatient Care: Care in a hospital that usually doesn’t require an overnight stay.
If you find an insurance term that you do not understand, please check the Healthcare.gov Glossary for further information.