The Department of State has established the following requirements for the type and amounts of coverage required to maintain J-1 or J-2 status:
- J1 Scholar (Exchange Visitor Visa) Medical Insurance policy must provide "medical benefits of at least $50,000 for each accident or illness." It means that an acceptable policy couldn't set a maximum lower than $50,000 in benefits for each accident or illness. However, starting May 15, 2015 this maximum will be increased to $100,000. Students with existing policies should be able to upgrade their policies this one time by paying the increased rate.
- If a J visa holder dies in the U.S., then the policy must provide at least $25,000 in repatriation benefits to send the remains to the home country for burial.
- The deductible should not exceed $500 per accident or illness.
- The co-payment of medical expenses (the portion not covered by insurance that the insured pays him or herself) should be of no more than 25%.
- If, because of a serious illness or injury, you must be sent home on the advice of a doctor, the policy must pay up to $50,000 for the expenses of your travel.
- J1 Scholar (Exchange Visitor Visa) Medical Insurance policy may establish a waiting period before it covers pre-existing conditions (that is, health problems you had before you bought the insurance), as long as the waiting period is reasonable by current standards in the insurance business.
- If you elect to satisfy the insurance requirement through a policy issued in your home country, the policy must be backed by the full faith and credit of your government. Otherwise, the company providing the insurance must meet minimum rating requirements established by Department of State (an A.M. Best rating of "A-" or better, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of "A-1" or better, a Standard & Poor's Claims-Paying Ability rating of "A-" or better, or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of "B+" or better).
These requirements apply to both J-1 students and scholars and to their J-2 dependent spouses and children.