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J-1 Health Insurance

Please Note:

*Medical care in the United States is extremely expensive and can be complicated to navigate. Please do not wait until you are sick to understand how your insurance plan works and identify a health care provider and urgent care center within your plan's network!

*Any J-1 exchange visitor who willfully refuses to comply with this requirement shall be considered to be in violation of his/her exchange visitor status and the program sponsor will be obligated to terminate the Exchange Visitor's program.

Visitors in J-1 and J-2 statuses are required to maintain health insurance coverage that meets U.S. Department of State requirements for their program duration as a condition of their participation in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. Please follow the steps below to make sure you and all J-2 family members have adequate health insurance in the United States. 

Step 1: Know the Requirements

U.S. Department of State Requirements

The following table summarizes the requirements that are listed on page 2 of your DS-2019 at 1(f):

Item Minimum Requirement
Medical Benefit $100,000 per person, per year or accident
*May include provision for co-insurance under the terms of which the exchange visitor may be required to pay up to 25 percent of the covered benefits per accident or illness
Medical Evacuation $50,000 to his/her home country
Repatriation of Remains $25,000
Deductible Cannot exceed $500 per accident or illness
Preexisting Conditions Cannot exclude altogether coverage for preexisting conditions although it may require a waiting period for them

Additionally, the insurance corporation underwriting the policy must have one of the following ratings:

A.M. Best rating of “A-” or above
Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of “A-i” or above
Standard & Poor’s Claims paying Ability rating of “A-” or above
Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above
Coverage backed by the full faith and credit of the government of my home country
McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor’s Claims-paying Ability rating of “A-“ or above
Moody’s Investor Services rating of “A3” or above

 

Federal Requirements: Affordable Care Act (ACA)

This only applies to J-1 scholars who may be considered a resident alien for tax purposes (unrelated to immigrant status).

See "Determining Alien Tax Status" and follow instructions for the "Substantial Presence Test."

Depending how long you remain in the United States, you may become subject to the terms of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which requires you to either:

  1. be enrolled in an ACA-compliant insurance, or
  2. pay a tax penalty to the U.S. Internal Revenue Services (IRS) per the “Individual Shared Responsibility” provision.

Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions require that individuals be enrolled in ACA-compliant insurance plans or pay a tax penalty--the "Individual Shared Responsibility" provision--to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  Whether individuals are subject to this mandate is determined by your tax status (NOT IMMIGRATION STATUS).  If you are a non-resident alien for tax purposes, then you are not subject to this individual mandate.  If you are a resident alien for tax purposes, however, then you must be enrolled in an ACA-compliant insurance to avoid an IRS penalty.  For those scholars who receive compensation from UC San Diego, your Glacier tax online enrollment process identifies your tax residency status--you should view the "Residency Status Start Date" indicated on the "Tax Summary Report" provided by the system upon completion.  If you are paid in some way by UC San Diego and have not completed the online Glacier questionnaire, see your departmental administrator as soon as possible to complete this.

As a very general rule, scholars in J-1 status who are in the U.S. for no more than portions of two calendar years (for example, December 1, 2015 through November 30, 2016) are considered non-resident aliens for tax purposes.  J-1 scholars who are here for more than portions of 2 calendar years and 183 days of the current year will be considered resident aliens beginning the third calendar year (for example, December 1, 2014 through November 30, 2016--the J-1 will become a resident alien for tax purposes on Jan 1, 2016).  See "Determining Alien Tax Status" and follow instructions for the "Substantial Presence Test." 

All UC San Diego employee-provided insurance plans and the Garnett-Powers plans for Postdoctoral Scholars are ACA-compliant.  The Garnett-Powers plans for visiting academics (not postdoctoral scholars) are not ACA-compliant. If you are a Resident Alien for Tax purposes and have questions about your non-UCSD plan, you should contact the insurance plan administrators directly and confirm that your insurance plan is ACA-compliant.

If you are seeking to enroll in other insurance plans, note that nonimmigrants are allowed to enroll in marketplace insurance exchanges established by the ACA enactment (see list) and also the main marketplace website. Additional information can be found in the presentation given to J-1 Exchange Visitors at UC San Diego  in 2015 by the Legal Aid Society of San Diego.

All J-1 scholars will still be required to maintain insurance that meets the federal regulatory requirement for this nonimmigrant classification and the requirements imposed by the University of California, San Diego, regardless of your tax residency status.

Step 2: Enroll In or Waive Out of Garnett-Powers & Associates Health Insurance

Postdoctoral Scholar J-1 Exchange Visitors

Option 1: If you enroll in the UC Postdoctoral Scholar Benefit Plan:

-Postdoctoral Scholars are eligible for the UC Postdoctoral Scholar Benefit Plan and may enroll online.
-The UC Postdoctoral Scholar Benefit Plan meets the medical evacuation and repatriation requirements and is ACA-compliant, so no further action, except enrollment, will be necessary.

Option 2: If you to enroll in your own health insurance plan:

If you do not enroll in the UC Postdoctoral Scholar Benefit Plan and have instead purchased a different qualifying insurance, please complete the Garnett-Powers waiver process.

UC San Diego Employee J-1 Exchange Visitors (Paid by UC San Diego, excluding postdocs)

Option 1: If you enroll in the UCSD health insurance plan for employees:

  1. Check with your department administrator to see if you are benefits-eligible.
  2. If benefits-eligible, choose coverage through a UC San Diego health plan, which meets the J-1 minimum requirements (see drawer above), except for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains (MER). 
    NOTE: THE UC SAN DIEGO "CORE" PLAN IS NOT COMPLIANT WITH FEDERAL REGULATIONS! 
  3. Purchase separate supplemental insurance to cover your medical evacuation and repatriation of remains (MER) requirements.
  4. Submit MER insurance coverage proof to IFSOinsurance@ucsd.edu as soon as possilbe but no later than 15 days after your arrival.
  5. For more information about MER options, please see the following in the FAQs below: What are some options for MER insurance?

Option 2: If you enroll in your own health insurance plan.

If you choose to enroll in a qualifying insurance plan other than a UC San Diego health insurance plan, please complete the Garnett-Powers waiver process.

All Other UC San Diego J-1 Exchange Visitors

 

Option 1: UC San Diego Visiting Scholar Benefit Plan

  • The Office of Postdoctoral and Visiting Scholar Affairs, the Graduate Division, and the International Faculty & Scholars Office have partnered with Garnett-Powers & Associates to design the UC San Diego Visiting Scholar Benefit Plan; all J-1 Exchange Visitors and their dependents are eligible to enroll online.
  • The UC San Diego Visiting Scholar Benefit Plan meets the medical evacuation and repatriation requirements, so no further action, except enrollment, will be necessary.

Option 2: Alternate Insurance Provider

If you choose to enroll in a qualifying plan other than the UC San Diego Visiting Scholar Benefit Plan:

  1. Request that your prospective insurance company verify that the policy meets the J-1 minimum requirements (see drawer above for details).
  2. Complete the Garnett-Powers waiver process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some health insurance providers for non-employees of UCSD?

Garnett-Powers & Associates' Visiting Scholar Benefit Plan - Endorsed by UC San Diego

Ph: (888) 441-3719
Website: http://clients.garnett-powers.com/vs/ucsd/.
Email: vabp@garnett-powers.com

The Office of Postdoctoral and Visiting Scholar Affairs, the Graduate Division, and the International Faculty & Scholars Office have partnered with Garnett-Powers & Associates to design the UC San Diego Visiting Scholar Benefit Plan.

 

Some Additional providers - Not Endorsed by UC San Diego:

BETiNS
Ph: (866) 552-8834
Website: www.betins.com
Email: info@betins.com

CMI Insurance Specialists
Ph: (800) 677-7887
Website: www.cmi-insurance.com
Email: cmipersons@cmi-insurance.com

Compass Benefits Group
Ph: (800) 683-1468
Website: www.compassstudenthealthinsurance.com
Email: studentplans@compassbenefits.com

International Medical Group, Inc
Ph: (800) 628-4664
Website: www.imglobal.com
Email: insurance@imglobal.com

International Student Organization
Ph: (800) 244-1180
Website: www.isoa.org
Email: kziv@isoa.org

Taian Financial
Ph: +1(317) 318-8258
Website: taianfinancial.com/#iucsd
Email: taianfinancialllc@gmail.com
(Service in Chinese)

How do I complete the Waiver Process?

Submit the online Waiver Form through GP (Garnett-Powers): http://clients.garnett-powers.com/vs/ucsd/waiver/

Make sure to prepare documents proving your proof of insurance coverage meeting the J-1 requirements stated above. Documents must be translated into English and converted to US dollar amounts.

How do I fill out the A-G Administrators Form?

The University of California sponsors the A-G Administrators Plan.

  1. Fill out the formA-G Administrators plan.
  2. Mail-in the paper form.
    1. Address it to: A-G Administrators, Inc. P.O. Box 979 Valley Forge, PA. 19482
    2. Include a check or money order made payable to A-G Administrators, Inc. for $100 per individual.
    3. You may list "IFSO at UCSD" as your International Scholar Advisor. (Last question on the form.)
  3. Email IFSOinsurance@ucsd.edu your proof of enrollment emailed to you by A-G Administrators.
    1. An administrator from A-G Administrators will email you proof of enrollment the day after the mail is received by their office.
Note: The A-G Administrators plan requires purchasing 1 year of insurance and does not prorate. If you are interested in coverage for less than 1 year, you may wish to find an alternative insurance provider.

What are some options for MER insurance?

Options other than the University of California sponsored  (see above) include:

The International Faculty & Scholars Office is providing examples of alternative companies used by our scholars but is not endorsing the services of these companies

How do I submit MER proof?

Email IFSOinsurance@ucsd.edu the following:

  • Proof of enrollment and payment with your name (and J-2 family members' if applicable)
  • Policy details in English with MER specifics in U.S. dollar amounts and appropriate policy rating
    • See "Step 1: Know the requirements for more information."

What do these health insurance terms or words mean?

Workshop Presentations