Health care in the United States is very expensive. Therefore, it is recommended that all international scholars who are coming to MIT have adequate health insurance.
MIT has health insurance requirements for visitors and affiliates. The U.S. Department of State also has requirements for J-1 exchange visitors.
MIT Health Insurance Plans
MIT offers health insurance plans for employees, fellows, visitors, and affiliates. Eligibility for the MIT health plans is determined by title, percentage of the appointment, duration of the appointment, and whether it is paid or unpaid. Please review the following sections to understand which health plans you are eligible for and follow the enrollment procedures.
If you are receiving a salary from MIT, you may be eligible to enroll in an employee health plan. Most of the benefit programs of MIT are available to faculty and staff members, paid Postdoctoral Associates, or paid visitors, who are appointed for at least three months, for at least 50% time, and are paid by MIT. Eligibility for some plans, including the dental plan, requires a longer appointment period. Eligibility for MIT Benefits is described at the Human Resources Employee Benefits website.
If you are not sure if you are eligible for MIT benefits, speak to the Administrative Officer or Personnel Administrator in your department, laboratory, or center; contact the Benefits Office (Building NE49-5000, tel. 617-253-6151, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org); or consult the Employee Benefits website.
Individuals with the following MIT titles are among those NOT eligible for MIT benefits: Postdoctoral Fellow*, Research Fellow, Research Affiliate, and those on "Visiting" appointments. (*Postdoctoral Fellows are, in some cases, eligible for either the MIT Health Plan or the MIT Affiliate Health Plan. Contact the Administrative Officer or Personnel Administrator in your department, laboratory, or center for details.)
MIT currently offers a choice of three health plans to benefits-eligible employees: the MIT Traditional Health Plan, the MIT Choice Plan, and the MIT High Deductible Health Plan. As of January 1, 2024, MIT is replacing the Traditional and Choice Health Plans with a new plan, the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) PPO+ Plan. The current High Deductible Health Plan will continue to be offered by MIT.
When you enroll in one of the employee health plans, MIT will pay for some of the cost of the health plan you choose, and the balance is deducted from your paycheck. You can enroll in one of the available health plans within 31 days of your starting date, or within 31 days of receiving your official welcome letter, whichever is later. For more information about MIT benefits, including health insurance, complete the online New Employee Orientation.
The MIT Traditional and Choice Health Plans, and the new Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) PPO+ Plan, meet the health insurance coverage requirements set by the Department of State for J-1 exchange visitors.
Please Note: The MIT High Deductible Health Plan does NOT meet the J-1 health insurance requirements and you should not select this plan if you are a benefits-eligible J-1 visa holder.
If you are not receiving a salary from MIT, you are not eligible for the employee health plans, but you may qualify for the MIT Student Health Insurance Plan (MIT SHIP), which is available to certain MIT-affiliated individuals and their family members, as well as students. Click on the “Are you eligible?” link on the MIT SHIP home page for details on eligibility. The Plan is available to individuals who are appointed for at least 50% time, for at least three months. Typical titles that are eligible for MIT SHIP include Postdoctoral Fellow, Visiting Professor, Visiting Scholar, Visiting Scientist, and Visiting Engineer. You may enroll in MIT SHIP within 30 days from the start date of your appointment. If you would like to enroll family members who are arriving later, you must enroll them within 30 days from their arrival date. If you are on a "visiting" appointment with a salary from MIT, please see Health Plans for Employees.
To enroll in the Plan or for more information, contact the MIT Student Insurance Office (Building E23-308, tel. 617-253-4371, e-mail: email@example.com ) or consult the website. MIT SHIP meets the Department of State's J-1 requirements.
Note: MIT SHIP always starts on the first day of the month. Upon enrollment, it must be purchased for the entire month, regardless of enrollment date, and cannot be prorated for part of a month.
Postdoctoral Fellows with appointments of at least three consecutive months are eligible for the MIT Dental and Vision Plans through MIT Benefits.
If your insurance is not from MIT, please make sure to check whether repatriation and medical evacuation coverage are included in your health plan as required by the Department of State's J-1 regulations. If you need to purchase them separately, please consult with the ISchO.
Page updated October 2023