All scholars in J-1 visa status are required by the Department of State to have health insurance for themselves and all dependents in J-2 status for the duration of their participation in MIT's J-1 exchange visitor program within 30 days from the start date of their appointment. The International Scholars Office (ISchO) requires all J-1 scholars to sign a Statement of Compliance with Exchange Visitor Health Insurance Requirements when requesting the Form DS-2019. The Statement of Compliance details the requirements of health insurance for all J-1 scholars and their J-2 family members. By signing this Statement, J-1 scholars are stating that they understand the requirements and agree to comply with them.
J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependents must be covered by sickness and accident insurance that meets the Department of State (DOS) requirements for the duration of their participation in MIT's J-1 exchange visitor program. Failure to have such insurance coverage may lead to loss of legal immigration status and termination from MIT's exchange visitor program. These DOS regulations are published in the Code of Federal Regulations [22 CFR 62.14].
Minimum health insurance coverage must provide:
- Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;
- In case of death, repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000;
- In case of serious illness or injury, payment of expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000;
- A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness; and
- Co-insurance (co-pay) not to exceed 25%
Two of the current MIT employee health plans (the MIT Traditional Health Plan and the MIT Choice Plan), the new Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) PPO+ Plan that will replace these plans as of January 1, 2024, and the MIT Student Health Insurance Plan (MIT SHIP), which is available to certain MIT-affiliated individuals and their family members, as well as students, meet the DOS J-1 requirements.
If you will enroll in an MIT health plan, you must enroll within 30 days from the start date of your MIT appointment; otherwise, you may lose your eligibility to enroll until the next open enrollment period. When you enroll in an MIT employee health plan through ATLAS you will voluntarily authorize payroll deductions. The MIT Student Health Insurance Plan (MIT SHIP) does not offer payroll deduction.
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 have insurance from an outside company or government, your insurance must meet the above limits. Note: repatriation and medical evacuation might not be included in your policy. Please check your policy/coverage. If needed, consult with the ISchO regarding how to purchase this required coverage.
The regulations continue: "Exchange visitors who willfully fail to maintain the insurance coverage set forth above . . . or who make material misrepresentations to the sponsor [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] concerning such coverage will be deemed to be in violation of these regulations and will be subject to termination as an exchange visitor." [22 CFR 62.14(i)]
As stated above, if you do not want to enroll in an MIT health plan because you brought your own insurance, your insurance plan must meet the State of Massachusetts requirements and the Department of State's J-1 requirements. The Department of State requires that all J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependents have medical evacuation and repatriation of remains insurance. If you do not have this kind of insurance included in the plan you brought from home, you must purchase it separately. The cost is reasonable, about $50-$200 per year. Please ask the ISchO for a list of companies that provide this insurance.
If you brought insurance sponsored by your home government and you are a J-1 exchange visitor, you are still required to sign the Statement of Compliance for the ISchO stating that you understand and agree to comply with the requirements described on this page.
Please Note: If you have insurance from a foreign government, repatriation and medical evacuation might not be included in your policy. Please check your policy/coverage. If needed, consult with the ISchO regarding how to purchase this required coverage.
Page updated October 2023