Health Insurance Requirements for J-1/J-2 Visitors

Whether you are a J-1 student or J-1 scholar at UC Berkeley, health insurance coverage for yourself and all of your accompanying J-2 dependents is required throughout the period of your stay. The required coverage and health insurance plan enrollment depends on both your affiliation at UC Berkeley and U.S. federal requirements (e.g. U.S. Department of State and the Affordable Care Act).

Visiting Scholars and Visiting Student Researchers

Visiting Scholars and Visiting Student Researchers’ health insurance benefits are provided through Gallagher Benefit Services or GBS (formerly known as Garnett-Powers & Associates). See the UC Berkeley Visiting Scholar Benefits Program (UCB-VSBP) website for detailed plan and enrollment information.

Postdoctoral Scholars:

Visiting Professors, Lecturers and Researchers

Please check with your department administrator regarding any benefits offered to you and your family through your UC Berkeley employment. If you have an insurance plan that meets all of the UC Berkeley and U.S. Department of State requirements but does not include medical evacuation and repatriation of remains, you must purchase supplemental insurance to make sure you also have this requirement covered. One option for supplemental insurance for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains is BETA through BETINS: International Health and Travel Insurance.

J-1 International Students (Enrolled UC Berkeley Students)

A J-1 student is defined as a degree-seeking student who is enrolled in a UC Berkeley Bachelor's, Masters, or Doctoral degree program or a student enrolled full time through the UCEAP Program and who has one of the following categories listed in Section 4 of the DS-2019: STUDENT-NON-DEGREE, STUDENT BACHELORS, STUDENT MASTERS OR STUDENT DOCTORATE. To find out more about J-1 Student and J-2 Student Dependent coverage, see J-1 Student Health Insurance.

U.S. Dept. of State Required Health Insurance Coverage for J-1/J-2 Exchange Visitors

J-1s and any J-2 accompanying spouse and dependent(s) may also be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act [22 CFR 62.14(a)] . Be aware that the ACA requirements may exceed the U.S. Department of State requirements.

Item Minimum Requirement
Medical Benefit $100,000
Repatriation of Remains $25,000
Medical Evacuation $50,000
Deductible per accident or illness $500
  • Covers pre-existing conditions after a reasonable waiting period
  • May include provisions for coinsurance under the terms of which the Exchange Visitor may be required to pay up to 25% of the covered benefits per accident or illness
  • Does not exclude benefits for perils inherent to the activities of the Exchange Visitor's program
  • Any insurance plan must be: 
    • Underwritten by an insurance corporation having an A.M. Best rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above; a McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor’s Claims paying Ability rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above; a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of ‘‘B+’’ or above; a Fitch Ratings, Inc. rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above; a Moody’s Investor Services rating of ‘‘A3’’ or above; or such other rating as the Department of State may from time to time specify;
    • OR backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor’s home country;
    • OR part of a health benefits program offered on a group basis to employees or enrolled students by a designated sponsor;
    • OR offered through or underwritten by a federally qualified Health Maintenance Organization or eligible Competitive Medical Plan as determined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Additional Health Insurance Information

If you are not eligible for the health insurance benefit plans listed above, you must enroll in a plan that meets the Department of State requirements listed above. Options that meet the requirements are available through the Garnett and Powers website. Proof of insurance that meets the Department of State requirements must be provided by the international scholar upon request to ensure compliance with Federal Regulations governing the J-1 Exchange Visitor program.