The Facts About Travel Insurance for J1 Visa Holders
The J1 Visa is issued to people who want to visit the United States as part of a work, education or travel program. It’s mainly intended for those who visit the US for a short time as an international student but applies to several other scenarios as well. The J1 allows users to study in the United States while also working in the country at the same time.
About the J1 Visa Program
The J1 Exchange Visitor Program began in 1961. It was created to improve international relations with the US through educational experiences and job training. Through this program, J1 Visa holders may visit the United States for a brief period while they continue their education or receive training to enter the professional workforce. Once the individual returns to their home country, they implement the new skills they acquired while in the US.
There are specific rules that J1 applicants are required to follow to remain eligible to stay in the country. That includes becoming proficient in the English language and earning sponsorship through a private organization, a government program, or a university.
Based on the type of work or educational program chosen, as well as other factors, dependents of the J1 Visa holder may accompany them to the United States. These dependents, which can include a spouse and non-married children under the age of 21, will be issued a J2 Visa. Dependents are also required to follow all requirements and the same application process as the J1 Visa holder.
Popular Programs for J1 Visa Holders
There are several types of programs available for J1 Visa holders. Here are some brief descriptions of the most popular program categories.
Short-Term Scholar Program
Professors and scholars from throughout the world teach and perform research studies at US college campuses and universities every year for up to six months.
Au Pair Program
This unique program allows individuals from foreign countries between the ages of 18 and 26 to visit the US and live for up to two years. During that time, the J1 Visa holder will live with a family as they study at a nearby institution and in return, provide childcare to that family.
Recent graduates or current university students may come to the United States to learn more about American culture and receive hands-on experience in the career path of their choosing.
Work & Travel Program
Full-time students enrolled in a post-secondary school may visit the US for work or travel purposes. They are eligible to stay during the winter, spring, or summer seasons.
J1 Visa holders who are over the age of 18 can work with American youth at summer camps in the United States as a teacher or camp counselor.
High School/Secondary School Program
Foreign high school students can live with an American host family or attend a boarding school while they study at an accredited public or private high school in the US.
What are the Insurance Requirements for J1 Visa Holders?
Based on the program category chosen by the J1 Visa holder, the insurance requirements will differ. The organization that sponsors the Visa will also have an impact on these requirements. All visa holders must contact their sponsor and obtain all necessary details concerning the programs and rules for travel insurance.
Two factors that remain the same with practically all programs are students must to be proficient in American English, and they must have acceptable health insurance coverage. And in many cases, the student will need to have an interview with the US Embassy or Consulate in their home country before receiving their J1 Visa.
What Does J1 Visa Health Insurance Cover?
Health insurance is mandatory for all foreign exchange students who wish to study abroad in the US. But there are several different types of health insurance policies available that take care of more than basic coverage.
Some of the standard benefits for J1 Health insurance include the following:
Emergency Medical Expenses
J1 Visa insurance requires a minimum of $100,000 per accident or illness when it comes to medical coverage. Generally, most plans also cover new illnesses, accidents, or injuries that happen after the policy’s effective date. Visa holders should keep in mind that because of the higher medical costs in the United States, they should choose a higher policy maximum to ensure they are fully covered.
All J1 health insurance plans participate in PPO networks. These networks include physicians, hospitals, and other medical facilities throughout the country. These medical professionals and facilities have created contracts with the insurance companies and can bill directly or charge the fees negotiated by the network.
Emergency Medical Evacuation
All J1 Visa health insurance policies must provide a minimum of $50,000 in emergency medical evacuation coverage. That covers the cost of transport to the closest hospital or other medical facilities that can provide urgent care in a medical emergency.
Return of Mortal Remains
J1 Visa health insurance policies require that the insurance covers a minimum of $25,000 to cover the cost of the return of mortal remains. This benefit helps the family of the exchange student transports their body back to their home country in the event of their death while studying in the US.
Accidental Death & Dismemberment
Accidental death and dismemberment coverage provides a lump sum benefit if the student passes away after being involved in an accident. It also provides benefits if the visa holder were to lose one or more limbs following an accident.
J1 Visa health insurance plans cover the cost of prescription drugs for new medical conditions that occur after the policy’s effective date. However, these policies do not cover birth control or any medication for pre-existing conditions.
Exclusions for J1 Visa Health Insurance
Every health insurance policy for exchange students will have exclusions that the visa holder should be aware of before they travel. It’s essential to do a significant amount of research before obtaining a visa to ensure there are no surprises about coverage later on. While some health insurance plans will provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, either once a plan starts, or after a waiting period, most health insurance providers will not cover the following.
- Foot care
- Preventative Care
- Sport-related injuries
- Cosmetic or experimental procedures
- Infertility and birth control
- Injury or death due to catastrophic events
Many reliable insurance companies offer health insurance coverage for students traveling abroad. Most of these plans will provide coverage for circumstances such as medical emergencies or sudden evacuations. There are also optional coverage options that allow visa holders to add on insurance to cover sports injuries or the cost of legal assistance.
Why Students Studying Abroad Need a J1 Visa Insurance Plan
Having the opportunity to study abroad can be a memorable experience for intelligent students. The education they can receive in the US could give them the knowledge and skills needed to achieve great things later in life. In most cases, that wouldn’t be possible if they were limited to studying in their home country. Unfortunately, serious injuries or illnesses can occur without warning. By having a reliable J1 Visa insurance plan, these students can rely on their worthwhile investment to ensure they remain healthy and safe during their time in the states.