Health Insurance

Department of State Exchange Visitor Program Regulations require Exchange Visitor Program participants including all J-1 and J-2 dependents (Short-term Scholars, Research Scholars, Professors, Specialists and Students, etc.) to have health insurance in effect for the entire duration of their J program. Failure to maintain health insurance is a violation of the J visa status and will subject all participants to departure from the United States. The Department of State regulations are located in the Code of Federal Regulations (22CFR, Part 62.14).

J Visa Federal Insurance Regulations

Insurance policies must meet the following requirements: 

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to home country in the amount of $50,000
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
  • Includes coverage for perils inherent to the activities of the program in which the insured participates 

The policy must be: 

  • Underwritten by an insurance corporation having an A.M. Best rating of “A-” or above, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd (ISI) rating of “A-” or above, a Standard & Poor’s Claims-paying Ability rating of “A-” or above, a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of “B+” or above, or such other rating as the Department of State may from time to time specify; or
  • Backed by the full faith & credit of the government of the insured’s home country; or
  • Part of a health benefits program offered on a group basis to employees or enrolled students by a designated sponsor; or
  • Offered through or underwritten by a federally qualified Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or eligible Competitive Medical Plan (CMP) as determined by the Health Care Financing Administration of the US Dept of Health & Human Services. 

To comply with this regulation, scholars must upload proof of their documentation in iStart.

Incoming scholars are required to show proof of insurance for the dates of their DS-2019 for themselves as well as any dependents upon arrival to the U.S., regardless of whether the dependent(s) arrives with them. If dependent insurance is not provided at that time, the dependent DS-2019(s) will be ended.

See below information regarding insurance based on different situations:

Scholars who are employed by USF and receive insurance as part of their USF employment: 

If you will be employed by USF and plan to enroll in insurance offered to you as an employee, it normally takes a month or two for employee insurance to start. Therefore, you must enroll in a temporary health insurance plan to provide coverage from the time you begin your program until your employee insurance begins. Please be aware that you must upload proof of your employee insurance by the time the temporary policy ends. 

IMPORTANT: When choosing your employer provided insurance coverage, be aware that the Postdoc plan meets all requirements for J visa holders. However, if you choose the state plan (ie People First- Blue Cross, United) it does not cover medical evacuation and repatriation which is required for J visa holders. Therefore, you will need to purchase additional coverage, which can be purchased from USF Student Health Services. 

Scholars who are not receiving insurance through their USF employment:

We highly recommend that you purchase a plan that is listed on the iStart insurance eform.  These plans meet all the requirements of the regulation and do not require additional forms.  

We do not recommend purchasing travel insurance while in our home country since it often does not meet all requirements of the regulation.

If you purchase a plan that is not listed on the iStart insurance eform, you will need submit a signed J-1 Insurance Compliance Form  with your proof of insurance .