U.S. immigration law requires that every J-1 exchange visitor and J-2 dependent maintain health insurance coverage for the duration of their stay in the United States. Note: J-2 dependents must maintain continuous insurance coverage throughout the period of the J-1 scholar program as indicated on the DS-2019.

Failure to obtain and maintain health insurance will lead to termination of the J-1 scholar's program and therefore eligibility to remain in the U.S.

J-1 Scholar Health Insurance - University of Iowa Requirements

  • All new J-1 scholars and J-2 dependents must be covered by a University of Iowa insurance program.

  • Paid scholars on the University of Iowa payroll will enroll in a UI insurance plan through their department. For information about plans for J-1 scholars who are paid by the University of Iowa, please visit the University Benefits website.
  • Unpaid scholars will choose a University of Iowa insurance plan during the J-1 scholar check-in with ISSS. Health insurance options for J-1 scholars who are not paid by the University of Iowa are described in the Unpaid J-1 Scholar site.
  • Scholars who are already in the U.S. and invite J-2 dependents to join them must add the spouse and/or children to their UI insurance plan within 10 days of their arrival in the U.S.
  • No exceptions will be granted by International Programs and the Benefits Office; all J-1 scholars and their J-2 dependents who are on a University of Iowa DS-2019 must purchase and maintain the University of Iowa insurance. Scholars or dependents who cancel their University of Iowa insurance before the program ends will lose legal status as per U.S. law.
  • University departments and programs may choose to pay for J-1 scholar and/or J-2 family insurance even if the scholar is not on a paid appointment; interested departments may contact ISSS for information.
  • University health insurance premiums cannot be prorated. If a J1 scholar arrives mid-month, he/she will be responsible for paying the whole premium for the entire month of coverage since it is mandatory to have health insurance coverage immediately upon arrival according to the appointment start date. This will also apply for when the scholar departs mid-month; He/she will be responsible to pay the whole health Insurance premium for that entire month to maintain coverage throughout the scholar’s duration here.
  • Questions regarding J-1 scholar insurance policy should be directed to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at ISSS@uiowa.edu.