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J-1 Health Insurance Requirements

U.S. government regulations mandate that all J-1 visa holders and their J-2 dependents have health and accident insurance during the entire length of their stay. Regulations prohibit an extension of J-1 status beyond the dates on the DS-2019 form without insurance.

Upon arrival, J-1 exchange visitors will be asked to attest that they are covered by insurance meeting the requirements set forth in the regulations. Exchange visitors who willfully fail to comply with the insurance requirements or who make "material misrepresentations" of their compliance with the regulations will be subject to termination of their J-1 program.

Can my visitor get Cornell insurance?

Cornell has a health insurance plan that many international scholars with academic appointments may join. Eligibility depends on the conditions of the visitor’s appointment. Learn about health plans for Cornell employees.

If your visitor does not qualify for Cornell insurance, some other insurance options are listed below. 

Are there other insurance plans you recommend?

We cannot recommend other plans or guarantee that they will be accepted by Ithaca-area providers. The following companies offer insurance plans that minimally satisfy U.S Department of State requirements. Many of these companies target insurance services for international students, but also offer plans for J-1 exchange visitors:

What is the minimum level of J-1 coverage?

  • 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 to home country in the amount of $50,000
  • Deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness

Insurance policies secured to fulfill the requirement ...

  • May require a waiting period for pre-existing conditions
  • May include provisions requiring the exchange visitor to pay up to 25% of the covered benefits per accident or illness ("co-insurance")
  • Must not reasonably exclude coverage for perils inherent to the activities of the exchange program

Some medical care may not be covered …

Be sure to remind your visitor that certain kinds of elective medical care, such as eyeglasses or dentistry, are not ordinarily covered by insurance and can be very expensive in the United States. Exchange visitors may wish to take care of dental and eye needs before leaving home.