Insurance for Dependents on a J Visa

Required coverage for dependents

As a student visa holder, you and your dependents are required by law to be covered by medical insurance that meets specified benefit levels. You must have coverage for the duration of your program. WSU will automatically enroll you in its international student health insurance program (iSHIP), but you will need to purchase separate coverage for anyone else who comes with you.

Minimum coverage requirements

Below are insurance requirements for international students and families as of Jan. 1, 2015. Each accompanying dependent must be covered by insurance in the same amounts.
  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  • Medical evacuation $50,000
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness

Policy requirements

To ensure reliability, the policy you choose should meet 1 of the following requirements:
  • Underwritten by an insurance corporation having 1 of the following ratings:
    • M. Best rating of “A-“ or above
    • Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of “A-I” or above
    • Standard & Poor’s Claims-paying Ability rating of “A-“ or above
    • Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above
    • Other rating as the Department of State may from time to time specify
  • Backed by the full faith and credit of the government of your home country
  • Part of a health benefits program offered on a group basis to employees or enrolled students by a designated sponsor
  • 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

Acceptable provisions

Waiting period for pre-existing conditions: If required, it should be reasonable relative to current industry standards. Co-insurance:  You may be required to pay up to 25% of the covered benefits per accident or illness.

Unacceptable provisions

The policy shall not unreasonably exclude coverage for perils inherent to the activities of the exchange program in which you participate.

Finding the policy that is right for you

Evaluate different insurance products to find 1 that best suits your circumstances. Consider factors such as:
  • If you are married or single
  • Whether you participate in sports activities that might raise your risk of injury
  • If you need maternity coverage
The following companies offer insurance products that meet or exceed the Department of State J exchange program minimum requirements for medical insurance. This is a partial list of companies and products and is provided only as a starting point. It is not an endorsement of any company or product.

Take the medical insurance requirement seriously

Willfully failing to maintain required insurance coverage is a violation of the law. Your participation in the exchange visitor program could be terminated as a consequence.


If you have questions about the insurance requirement, contact an advisor in International Student and Scholar Services.