J-1 Student Mandatory Health Insurance

Federal regulations governing J-1 status require all J-1 students and their dependents to carry health insurance throughout their duration of status in the United States.  J-1 student’s and J-2 dependents are obligated to meet specific health insurance requirements, and show proof of sufficient coverage to their CUNY college’s J-1 Responsible Officer, throughout their enrollment.

F-1 Student Health Insurance

Although federal regulations do not mandate health insurance for F-1 students, it is highly recommended that CUNY F-1 international students and their dependents purchase international student health insurance to:

  • reduce the high costs of out of pocket medical expenses
  • have access to a wide-range of bonafide health care providers
  • and ensure that they have medical evacuation and repatriation benefits to their home countries.

Required Coverage

Regulation 22 CFR 62.14 stipulate that J-1 students and J-2 dependents health insurance plans must include:

  • $50,000 per accident or illness
  • Deductible of no more than $500
  • Medical evacuation up to $10,000
  • Repatriation up to $7500
  • A reasonable waiting period for pre-existing conditions
  • Includes provision for co-insurance under the terms which the exchange student may be required to pay up to
    25% of the covered benefits per accident or illness
  • A policy backed by the full faith and credit of the student’s home country or an insurance company that meets:
    the minimum USIA rating requirements: A. M. Best rating of “A-” or above, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of “A-I” or above, a Standard & Poor’s Claims-paying Ability rating of “A-” or above, or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above.
  • Part of a health benefits program offered on a group basis to enrolled students by a designated sponsor; or offered through or underwritten by a federally qualified Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or eligible Competitive Medical Plan (CMP) as determined by the Health Care Financing Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Important Note: Keep in mind that the requirements above meet the minimum specifications. Therefore, you may elect to have more coverage.


J-1 students who willfully fail to maintain J-1 health insurance, misrepresent their insurance coverage or fail to maintain coverage for their dependents are considered in violation of status. Consequently, the college is required to terminate the student’s J-1 Program in SEVIS [22 CFR 62.14(h)(i)] and 62.78].  Students who lose their status due to non-compliance with health insurance requirements cannot reinstatement their J-1 status [62.45(f) (1)].  Once a status has been terminated, J-1 privileges are no longer available and the student and dependents must leave the U.S. To prevent a violation of status due to health insurance as well as in other areas, J-1 students should maintain on-going contact and conduct regular discussions regarding their responsibilities with their college’s J-1 Responsible Officer.