Health Insurance Requirements

All J-1 Exchange Visitors and their J-2 dependents are required by the U.S. Department of State to have health insurance for the entire period of their stay in the U.S. 

Health Insurance Coverage Requirements

All J-1 Exchange Visitors and their J-2 dependents are required by the U.S. Department of State to have health insurance for the entire period of their stay in the U.S.  The State University of New York (SUNY) also requires participants in international educational exchange (e.g. J-1 Exchange Visitors) to have health insurance coverage that meets SUNY’s requirements. 

  • If you are enrolled in courses at the University at Buffalo, you are automatically billed for the health insurance offered through SUNY. 
  • If you are not enrolled in courses (i.e. Student Interns, Hungarian Exchange Students, other Non-Degree, etc.) you must enroll yourself and provide proof of coverage to ISS within 30 days of your arrival.

It is the responsibility of the J-1 Exchange Visitor to maintain proper health insurance for yourself as well as any J-2 dependents and to provide proof of continuous health insurance coverage to ISS.

The plan offered through the University at Buffalo meets both State Department and SUNY requirements; therefore, we recommend this plan for both J-1 and J-2 Exchange Visitors. For additional information, including current costs and information on how to enroll, visit the Student Medical Insurance Office website. The Student Medical Insurance Office is located in 1Capen Hall on North Campus.

If you choose a plan other than the plan offer through SUNY, your plan must offer equivalent coverage to the SUNY plan. The SUNY plan details are explained on the Student Medical Insurance Office website. To prove that your insurance is equivalent to the SUNY plan, you must receive a waiver from the Student Medical Insurance office.

Important!

J-1 and J-2 Exchange Visitors may not utilize U.S. federal government public assistance health insurance (i.e. Medicaid).  ISS must receive proof of your health insurance coverage before we can sign your DS-2019 or process any request from you.

Medical Evacuation & Repatriation Coverage

Medical Evacuation and Repartiation covers expenses for the transportation of a sick or injured person or the remains of a deceased person back to the home country. The U.S. State Department requires that all J-1/J-2 Exchange Visitors have this coverage. If you are a J-1 student enrolled in the SUNY international health insurance, you will automatically be enrolled in medical evacuation and repatriation insurance as well.

If you are not an enrolled student, you may need to purchase this insurance separately if your insurance coverage does not include it. If you choose to purchase the insurance offered by the University at Buffalo, this coverage is included.

You must ensure that your J-2 dependent’s health insurance also includes coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation. If it does not, you will be required to purchase the SUNY medical evacuation and repatriation insurance separately.

Reporting Health Insurance Coverage

All J-1 and J-2 Exchange Visitors must provide International Student Services with proof of valid health insurance, each time it is requested.

If requested, J-1 and J-2 Exchange Visitors must show continuous coverage for the entire duration of the Exchange Program. All documentation submitted to ISS must include the name of the insured, date of expiration, proof of payment, and proof of Medical Evacuation and Repatriation coverage.

J-2 Dependents

J-2 dependents are NOT automatically enrolled in the SUNY health insurance plan.  It is the responsibility of the J-1 Exchange Visitor to enroll all J-2 dependents in an adequate health insurance plan.  To ensure that your dependents’ health insurance provides sufficient coverage, it is best to obtain it from UB’s Student Medical Health Insurance Office.

If you choose a plan other than the plan offer through SUNY, your plan must offer equivalent coverage to the SUNY plan. The SUNY plan details are explained on the Student Medical Insurance Office website. To prove that your insurance is equivalent to the SUNY plan, you must receive a waiver from the Student Medical Insurance office.

Affordable Care Act

J-1 Exchange Visitors and any accompanying J-2 dependents may be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.  For further information, please visit the New York State of Health website.

Consequences of Not Maintaining Adequate Health Insurance

If you willfully fail to maintain the insurance coverage as set forth or make a material misrepresentation to your J-1 sponsor regarding your coverage, you will be considered to be in violation of the Exchange Visitor Program regulations and will be subject to termination as an Exchange Visitor participant. It is your responsibility, not the University at Buffalo’s responsibility, to obtain and maintain insurance coverage for the duration of your program.