Health Insurance for J-1 Scholars

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J-1 Exchange Visitor Scholars and Undergraduate Researchers Health Insurance

Exchange Visitors in J-1 and J-2 status are required to maintain health insurance coverage that meets U.S. Department of State requirements for their program duration as a condition of their participation in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.

Please note, willful non-compliance with this regulatory requirement shall be considered a violation of status, which can have serious consequences.  The following table summarizes the requirements that are listed in 1(f) on page 2 of your DS-2019:

Item  Minimum Requirement 
Medical Benefit*   $100,000 per accident or illness
May include provision for co-insurance under the terms of which the exchange visitor may be required to pay up to 25 percent of the covered benefits per accident or illness
Medical Evacuation to Home Country $50,000
Repatriation of Remains $25,000
Deductible Cannot exceed $500 per accident or illness
Preexisting Conditions (please see coverage terms) Cannot exclude altogether coverage for preexisting conditions although it may require a waiting period for them that is reasonable

*Based on current medical costs, a minimum coverage of $300,000 per illness/injury is strongly recommended.

J-1 exchange visitors and any accompanying J-2 spouse and dependent(s) may be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Different Situations for Scholar Health Insurance

  • Postdoctoral Scholar position title at UC Davis
    Postdoctoral Scholars (and any J-2 dependents) are eligible to enroll in the UC Postdoc Scholar Benefit Plan and work with their host department contact to sign up. This plan meets all of the U.S. Department of State minimum coverage requirements, including medical evacuation and repatriation.
  • Scholar is employed by UC Davis in a different position title, not as Postdoctoral Scholar

    If the UC Davis host department has confirmed that a scholar (and any J-2 dependents) is eligible to receive UC Davis Health Plan benefits, the scholar will work with the host department contact to sign up for health insurance.

    Note that most UC Davis Health Plans do not cover medical evacuation and repatriation, which are required by the U.S. Department of State health insurance regulations for J Exchange Visitors. If needed, a scholar may buy Betins supplemental insurance for medical evacuation and repatriation.
  • Scholar is not employed, or not a Postdoctoral Scholar
    If the UC Davis host department has confirmed that a scholar (and any J-2 dependents) is not eligible to sign up for a UC Davis Health Plan or the Postdoctoral Scholar Benefit Plan, the scholar will have to purchase health insurance that meets the U.S. Department of State minimum coverage requirements. There are two options:
    • Option 1: Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) has partnered with Garnett-Powers & Associates Insurance (GP&A) to offer health insurance to J-1 Exchange Visitors and their J-2 dependents. The scholar will receive an email with instructions and a web link to sign up with GP&A.
    • Option 2: If the scholar decides to purchase coverage from a different health insurance provider, other than Garnett-Powers & Associates (GP&A), the scholar will need to complete a waiver process with GP&A. The scholar will receive an email with instructions and a web link to start the waiver process with GP&A.
    • The GP&A web portal also includes a FAQ link.