J1 visa is supposed for cultural and professional exchange. It is given to students, teachers, physicians, professors – for those, who have come to USA to exchange the experience in their professional area.
As exchange programs as usual last from 6 months to several years, the visitors, who come to USA with J1 visa, must have health insurance. From May, 2015 new demands for insurance of exchange specialists were adopted.
New Demands for J1 Visa Insurance
Participants of different exchange programs come to USA for a long period of time. During that period they get used to another country with its culture, cuisine, time zone etc. Of course, it is a great impact on health of the tourist and that’s why they need to get medical consultation and care. Medical service is extremely expensive in America and sometimes newcomers can’t pay the bills. That’s why new insurance demands were adopted, according to which every exchanged specialist must be insured and there are limits of minimal coverage that J1 visa insurance policy must meet.
The demands are the following. The new student or professor from the foreign country must have at least $100,000 of coverage for unexpected disease or injury. At least $25,000 must be left for repatriation. $50, 000 is presumed for emergency evacuation. The amount of the deductible must be not more than $500. The sum of coverage in your insurance plan may be high, but if it is less, you are considered as uninsured and you won’t be allowed to take part in exchange program in USA. So, if you have got J1 visa and plan your visit to USA, it is the time to study insurance plans.
What Plans are Offered?
If you are lack of money, you may get the policy with minimal coverage offered by the law. But if you have enough money or your sponsor is ready to help you, it is better to get the policy with higher coverage, because even that amount of coverage is not always enough to pay the medical bills.
There are four main insurance plans for those, who travel with J1 visa.
The first one is supposed for school students. Children demand extra care and extra coverage and usually they get separate insurance plans.
The second one is called basic coverage. It is the plan that meets the demands of updated J1 visa insurance, but not more. So with basic medical plan you will be allowed to participate in exchange program, but in case of an emergency the coverage can be not enough and you will pay out of pocket the rest of the amount.
The third insurance plan for exchange visitors is called budget. It is supposed for college and university students and for teachers, doctors and professors, who come to USA from 1 to 2 years. Deductible here is $50. The maximum amount of coverage is $100,000. As this plan is supposed for elder visitors, they may come with a spouse or a child. In this case the dependant is also included in this list and $50,000 of coverage is supposed for him.
The fourth insurance plan is called elite. $250,000 of coverage can be expected, if you purchase this policy. Your spouse and children can be included to the policy too. They can expect $50,000 of coverage.
If you (or your spouse) become pregnant while you are staying in USA, the expenses for pregnancy and childbirth are also covered, if you get elite insurance plan. All the other J1 visa insurance plans do not cover maternity.
Of course, every insurance company has its own variations as for J1 visa insurance plans. They may have some difference. But in any case, before you get the plan, you must be sure, that it meets the necessary demands. Sometimes you may be asked to prove, that your insurance policy is covered like it is demanded by the law. In this case your insurance provider must write visa letter. Learn in advance, if your insurance service provider is able to write such a letter for you.
How to Buy?
If you have never been abroad and in your country medical insurance is not mandatory, it can be a great problem for you to buy J1 visa insurance. Here’s the guide for you.
- Contact your sponsor, if you have any. Ask him about medical insurance. Does he provide you for the policy? If your trip is sponsored, very often the insurance policy is also sponsored. So you mustn’t care about it.
- Contact your school, college or office administration. Very often they have group insurance policy and you can be included there too for a period of staying in USA. Thus you can reduce the rates for you.
- If you are not sponsored and you can’t be included in the group policy, medical insurance for J1 students is your own headache. It is recommended to purchase it online. Find the sites that offer insurance policies. Contact their support, and ask, if they sell J1 visa insurance. It is advisable to contact several companies and compare their insurance plans and rates. If you make your final choice and are ready to get the policy, you can pay with your debit card for it. And that’s all – you are insured.
The policy becomes valid the next day after you have paid for it. Some package of documents can be demanded from you. But the purchase won’t be so easy, if you have disability.
Can I Have J1 Visa Insurance, if I am Disabled?
There’s no other country in the world like USA, which is so careful about its disabled. People with disability have the right to education, professional and family life and this idea is highly advertised in America. If you are disabled, it is not a barrier for you to come to USA as a student or a young specialist to exchange your experience. But it will be harder for you to get the insurance policy.
Disability is called pre-existing health conditions. Insurance rates are usually more expensive for people with some chronic disease. But it is not so difficult to find a sponsor, who will purchase J1visa insurance policy for you. In USA there are a lot of sponsor organizations who are eager to help people with disability.
If you can’t find a sponsor, you can contact the administration of your school or professional; organization, where you are going to work. Very often they can include you in their group policy and it will cost you much less.
Finally, you can be insured at home at some local insurance company, which can provide you for coverage in USA. Make sure, that the insurance policy you have got at home, meets all the demands mentioned above.
Planning your visit to USA, study and work there is very interesting. For sure, it will be precious experience; you will gain new knowledge and make new friends. But you should care about the package of necessary documents in advance and J1 visa insurance is the most important paper in that package.
Take care about health care insurance and enjoy your trip!