J-1 Scholar Health Insurance

The U.S. Department of State administers the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.  One of their regulations is that all J-1 students and scholars and their J-2 dependents have adequate health insurance coverage throughout their stay.

J-1 students should refer to information from Columbia Health.


The insurance coverage must meet these minimum standards:

These are some providers who cover international clients.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Most likely you and your dependents can be covered. To be sure, ask your hiring department whether you will be eligible for this benefit. Refer to the Benefits information for new hires at Human Resources to read about Health insurance coverage.

Yes, but only if it meets all the requirements set by the U.S. Department of State. Many scholars find that their home-country insurance doesn't meet all the criteria.

One of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act is the Individual Mandate that is applicable to all residents for federal tax purposes. This means there is a penalty for individuals who do not have health insurance coverage.

Typically a J-1 scholar (professor, researcher, visiting scholar, or J-1 student intern) is considered a nonresident alien for federal tax purposes and is not subject to the Affordable Care Act.

In general, you are considered an non resident alien if you have been in the United States for less than two calendar years. If you become a resident for tax purposes in a third year of being in J scholar status, you are still subject to J-1 health insurance requirement.