As a benefit of your BSMP scholarship you will be provided health insurance that meets or exceeds J-1 visa regulations (see below). IIE, on behalf of CAPES/CNPq, will pay for the coverage upon receipt of an invoice from your host institution. It is your responsibility, however, to ensure you are enrolled in an appropriate plan that meets these requirements for the duration of your authorized program. If you find the health insurance provided by your host institution does not meet the requirements stated below, or it cannot provide any coverage at all or for the entire duration of your authorized program, you must inform IIE immediately via firstname.lastname@example.org. In these two cases, IIE will enroll you in its private health plan for the duration of your authorized program.
J-1 Visa Health Insurance Coverage Requirements:
- Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness
- Repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500
- Expenses associated with medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $10,000
- A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.
An insurance policy secured to fulfill the requirements of this section:
a. May require a waiting period for pre-existing conditions which is reasonable as determined by current industry standards
b. 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.
- Policy must be underwritten by an insurance corporation having an A.M. Best rating of “A-” or have;an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of “A-” or above; or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above.
- If you have any questions about your host institution’s health insurance plan, or the health care that will be available to you, you should feel free to contact your host institution’s Health Center/Student Services Office.
- It is very important to have all necessary dental care or immunizations completed prior to your departure. Dental care and immunizations are very expensive in the U.S. Please be prepared as your host institution will require you show proof of immunizations prior to course registration.
- If pre-existing conditions are not covered by your health insurance plan, you will need to plan accordingly. A pre-existing condition is any condition which (i) originated prior to your effective date of coverage or (ii) you received consultation/treatment/medication from a physician about prior to your effective date of coverage.
- You are fully responsible for covering the cost of immunizations, dental care, medical care, etc. not covered by your host institution’s or IIE’s health insurance plans. Please be prepared to incur out-of-pocket expenses such as co-pays, deductibles, co-insurance, etc. or services not covered by your health insurance plan.
- If you are considering arriving in the U.S. prior to the Start Date on your Terms of Appointment, or remain in the U.S. for any portion of your 30-day grace period, it is highly recommended that you purchase traveler’s health insurance coverage.
BSMP Health Insurance Confirmation Form
The purpose of the BSMP Health Insurance Confirmation Form is to confirm that BSMP students are enrolled in an adequate health insurance plan as outlined in their Terms of Appointment. BSMP students must submit the Health Insurance Confirmation Form within 10 days of their arrival in the United States and whenever your health insurance coverage changes (for example, if IIE transfers you to another university or if your current university changes their insurance provider). Should you have any questions about the content of the form, we encourage you to print it out and contact your university’s health insurance office for assistance. It is a program requirement to have proof of health insurance in each student’s record.
IIE Insurance Request Form
Since BSMP students must be enrolled in an adequate health insurance plan that meets J-1 visa regulations at all times during their authorized program, there will be certain cases where BSMP students will need to be enrolled in IIE’s private health insurance plan. You should complete the IIE INSURANCE REQUEST FORM if any of the following conditions apply to you:
- Your university is unable to provide you with health insurance.
- Your university is able to provide you with health insurance, but the health insurance plan does not meet J-1 regulations.
- Your university is unable to provide you with health insurance as of your Program Start Date written on your Terms of Appointment.
- Your university is unable to provide you with health insurance for a specific period during your authorized program (winter or summer breaks). For information on coverage prior and after to your authorized program, please see Traveler’s Insurance.
In addition to this form, you must submit documentation that confirms you will not have coverage for the dates you specified in the form. The following are acceptable forms of proof and should be included as a PDF attachment along with the IIE Insurance Request Form :
- A letter from your university’s health center/office or international student advisor which confirms you will need health insurance for the time you indicated on the IIE Insurance Request Form.
- A copy of your summary of benefits that confirms your dates of coverage do not cover your entire authorized program. For example, if your Terms of Appointment start date is January 1, 2013, and your insurance coverage begins on January 20, 2013, then you qualify for IIE’s private health plan for the entire month of January, 2013.
- It is your responsibility to ensure you are enrolled in an appropriate plan that meets these requirements for the duration of your authorized program.
- IIE reserves the right to request additional information before enrolling you in IIE’s private health insurance plan.
- Please allow up to ten days for your request to be processed.
Staying safe and healthy will have direct positive effects on your overall exchange experience and academic success. Three major components that contribute to a safe and healthy exchange experience are: (i) understanding the U.S. health care system; (ii) understanding your health insurance (iii) being prepared for emergency situations.
U.S. Healthcare System
A major difference between the U.S. and many other countries is how the health care system works. In the U.S., healthcare is privatized. In other words, there is no universal national health care plan. This makes it very expensive to receive treatment and medicine without health insurance. Additionally, there are specific laws that govern which medications require a doctor’s prescription, and which do not. International students and scholars are also not eligible for financial assistance from the U.S. government or from their host institution to pay medical bills. A few additional facts to know about the U.S. health care system are:
- Payment is the responsibility of the individual patient, with or without health insurance, and patients are fully responsible for seeing that bills are submitted and that claim forms are properly completed.
- Some doctors providing services at a hospital may bill patients separately.
- Co-pays or pre-certification authorizations are usually expected at the time the care is given.
- The reimbursement process of an insurance provider takes time, and incomplete or incorrect forms can cause further delays.
- Not all health insurance plans cover pre-existing conditions and the costs associated with treatment; others have very low coverage limits or waiting periods.
- All patients’ privacy must be respected and be kept confidential by law. With a few exceptions, licensed physicians, nurses or other medical care staff (including psychologists and other mental health professionals), are not permitted to discuss a patient’s medical symptoms, conditions, illness or treatment without written consent. These few exceptions include a life-threatening condition*, an unconscious state leaving someone unable to make a decision, or abuse.
Understanding your Health Insurance Plan
The U.S. Department of State established health insurance requirements (click here Insurance Guidelines) for J-1 Exchange Visitors to the U.S. As a benefit of your BSMP scholarship you will be provided health insurance that meets or exceeds J-1 visa requirements. IIE, on behalf of CAPES/CNPq, will pay for the coverage upon receipt of an invoice from your host institution. It is your responsibility, however, to ensure you are enrolled in an appropriate plan that meets these requirements for the duration of your authorized program. If you find that the health insurance provided by your host institution does not meet the requirements, or your host institution cannot provide any coverage at all for the entire duration of your authorized program, you must inform IIE immediately by email at email@example.com. In these two cases, IIE will enroll you in its private health plan for the duration of your authorized program.
In order to better understand your insurance policy and be better prepared should you need to seek medical care, you should know the answers to the following questions:
- What does my insurance plan cover?
- What is not covered?
- Is there a co-pay*, co-insurance* or a deductible*?
- Does my insurance cover pre-existing conditions*?
- Where can I seek medical care and what are the hours of service?
- Where is the nearest emergency room* to where I live?
- Who are the doctors that provide services in the network?
- What is a claim form? When do I need it? Where do I find it and where do I submit it?
- Is there a dental or vision plan? Do I need dental or vision coverage?
- When do I need a prescription?
- Is there a co-pay for prescriptions?
- Where is the nearest pharmacy?
* See Glossary below
- Co-pay: A co-payment- or “co-pay”- is a specified amount you must pay every time you visit a doctor or pay for a prescription. If you plan on visiting a doctor, it may cost you 25$-50$ per visit depending on your insurance plan (in addition to co-insurance). You should inquire about this fee while scheduling your appointment so that you are prepared for the charges, or contact your insurance provider ahead of time. (IIE does not cover co-pays).
- Co-insurance: A certain percentage of the total covered costs to be paid upon completion of medical services provided by a doctor, laboratory, or hospital. Depending on your health insurance plan, your insurance provider will cover a certain percentage while you cover the remainder. For example, if your health insurance plan covers 80% for a medical treatment, you will be required to pay the remaining 20% out of your own personal funds. If possible, you should inquire about the co-insurance prior to scheduling an appointment to get an overall sense of the costs that you will owe to the healthcare provider, laboratory, or hospital. (IIE does not cover co-insurance).
- Deductible: The amount you pay for covered services before your health plan begins to pay. (IIE does not cover deductibles).
- Pre-existing conditions: A pre-existing condition is any condition which (i) originated prior to the start date of your health insurance coverage or (ii) you received consultation/treatment/medication from a physician prior to the start date of your health insurance coverage. It is important to note that not all health insurance plans cover pre-existing conditions and the costs associated with treatment. If there is a medication you take for a pre-existing condition, it is recommended that you secure enough in your home country for the time you will be in the U.S. Otherwise, it may become very expensive.
- Emergency Rooms: Emergency rooms (ER), emergency department (ED), accident & emergency (A&E) or casualty department are medical treatment facilities that you can go to without an appointment to treat a medical emergency. In the U.S., the average wait time to be treated by health care professional at an emergency room is three to four hours due to the high number of patients. Please note that depending on your medical health plan, emergency room co-pay’s can be very expensive.
- Life-threatening situation: Life-threating situations are defined as conditions that require immediate attention at an emergency room. For example, uncontrolled bleeding, high fever, broken bones, seizures or unconsciousness.
- Always be ready to explain your symptoms and conditions from the onset to a physician or nurse. When doing so try not to feel intimidated and always tell the truth. Be prepared to tell them what medications or treatments you have taken or are currently taking. Always feel free to ask them as many questions about your condition, treatment, medical procedure or cost as you’d like, even if you have already left the office.
- Check with your host institution’s health center to see if you need to complete a medical form and/or submit immunization documentation. If you are required to have immunizations (tuberculosis, measles/mumps/rubella, hepatitis, influenza, meningitis), you may be able to receive them in your home country or upon arrival. In some instances, host institutions require certain immunizations or tests be administered in the U.S. IIE does not cover the costs of immunizations.
- No matter what the possible cost, your health and well-being must always come first, so it is of the utmost importance that you see a doctor if you are injured or ill. Please use your best judgment to assess which medical care facility is appropriate for your current condition.
- It is your responsibility to keep yourself up-to-date on any changes to your health insurance plan and coverage dates. If you are going to be traveling internationally during your program, or if you plan on staying in the U.S. for any part of your 30-day grace period upon completing your program, you must make sure you have international health insurance coverage for these periods. Should you need to purchase additional coverage for temporary periods such as these, you can ask your host institution’s health center for information or you can visit http://caremed-travel.net/.
Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI)
BSMP students must be enrolled in an adequate health insurance plan that meets J-1 visa regulations at all times during their authorized program. There will be certain cases where a host institution will not be able to provide health coverage to BSMP students. In such cases BSMP students will be enrolled in IIE’s private health insurance plan - CISI. If you have CISI insurance, it means that your university does not provide health insurance, does not have insurance that meets the J-1 regulations, or you need insurance for a specific gap period during your program when you are not covered by an eligible insurance provider. To find out more about how to obtain CISI insurance for a gap period during your program, please see the IIE Insurance Request Form in the “Health Insurance Forms” tab.
If you are enrolled in CISI, or are seeking enrollment, you will be given the World Class Coverage Plan designed for the Institute of International Education. Please click here for the CISI Brochure for a summary of the benefits and limitations of coverage that you would receive under the CISI World Class Coverage Plan.
To file a medical claim with CISI, please complete the CISI Medical Claim Form.
To inquire about the status of a claim, explanation of benefits and eligibility, please call: (203) 399-5130
The website for CISI is http://www.culturalinsurance.com
To speak to a CISI representative, please call (800) 303-8120 toll-free within the United States.
The Customer Service Email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please contact BSWBinsurance@iie.org for any issues that you are experiencing with your health insurance plan.
If you are considering arriving prior to the start date written on your Terms of Appointment or remain in the U.S. for any portion of your 30-day grace period (defined below), we highly recommend you purchase traveler’s health insurance. Your BSMP scholarship does not cover these periods.
Arrival Prior to Program Start Date: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows J-1 Exchange Visitors to enter the United States 30 days or less in advance of the Exchange Visitor’s program start date as shown on the Form DS-2019.
Departure after Program Completion (30-day Grace Period): Following the completion of a J-1 exchange visitor’s program, the period defined on the Form DS-2019, USCIS allows participants a 30-day grace period. This is commonly referred to as the "Grace Period." During this 30-day grace period, J-1 exchange visitors are no longer in J-visa status, and are now under the jurisdiction of the USCIS. The 30-day grace period is only for exchange visitors to settle their affairs, travel and visit friends/family, and prepare for departure. Under no circumstances can exchange visitors continue and/or complete exchange activities; this includes taking classes/final exams, conducting research, or participating in Academic Training/Research or Teaching Assistantships. Please note that while you may travel within the U.S., we recommend that you do not travel beyond the borders of the United States as you may not be permitted re-entry.
Below is a list of companies in the United States that offer health insurance plans to exchange visitors. Please note that this list is for informational purposes only, it does not represent any endorsement by IIE.
All Aboard Benefits
CMI Insurance Specialists
CareMed International Travel Insurance
ISO Student Health Insurance
Travel Insurance Services
United Healthcare Student Resources