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Depending on their visa category, international scholars may be required to maintain medical insurance, also known as health insurance, to cover them for sickness or accidents during the time of their program.

Mandatory medical insurance is required for those visiting on a J-1/J-2 visa. Those visiting on other visa classifications will need to verify medical insurance requirements with their sponsoring agency. Please note that Pennsylvania requires residents to have health insurance in compliance with the Affordable Care Act. Learn more about health insurance in Pennsylvania.

According to U.S. Department of State regulations, all J-1 visa holders and their dependents are required to have medical insurance coverage with the following minimum benefits:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  • 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

Maintaining medical coverage is a condition of your J-1 visa status. The coverage must meet the U.S. State Department guidelines, which were sent to you with your visa application. If Lehigh University or your sponsoring agency is not providing medical coverage, you must purchase your own. You may select the medical insurance that is best for you and any family, as long as it provides the minimum coverage. Note: Lehigh health insurance plans do not cover Medical Evacuation and Repatriation automatically. You will need to add these coverages to your plan.

Lehigh University Health Insurance

Depending on their role while visiting Lehigh, some international scholars may be eligible for Lehigh University health insurance. Employees may need to wait until the first day of the next full month following the start date of their appointment for their health insurance coverage to begin. In this case, you may need to purchase outside medical coverage to satisfy the J-1 requirements until the eligibility date begins. This includes all J-2 dependents.

Failure to enroll in medical coverage within 30 days of arrival on a J-1 may result in the termination of your J-1 sponsorship.

Other Medical Coverage Options

If Lehigh University or your sponsoring agency is not providing medical coverage, you must purchase your own. Some options include:

Lehigh is not responsible for these plans. It is your responsibility to get details about the plan you choose. In choosing a plan, it is important to know whether you will need to pay for care first and then get reimbursed later (this can be very costly) and which doctors or hospitals will accept the insurance plan you choose. Most of these plans do not cover prior health problems (pre-existing conditions). They are travel/accident insurance that offer minimal coverage and sometimes carry large deductibles (the amount you must pay for care yourself before the insurance provider will cover expenses).