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Health Insurance for MIT International Scholars

International Scholars > Health Insurance for MIT International Scholars

Health Insurance for J-1 Exchange Visitors and Other MIT Visitors and Affiliates

Health care in the United States is very expensive. Therefore, it is recommended that all international scholars who are coming to MIT have adequate health insurance. MIT has health insurance requirements for visitors and affiliates and the U.S. Department of State also has requirements for J-1 exchange visitors.

All scholars in J-1 visa status are required by the Department of State to have health insurance for themselves and all dependents in J-2 status for the duration of their participation in MIT's J-1 exchange visitor program within 30 days from the start date of their appointment. The International Scholars Office (ISchO) requires all J-1 scholars to sign a Statement of Compliance when requesting the Form DS-2019 and again upon arrival at MIT. The Statement of Compliance details the requirements of health insurance coverage for all J-1 scholars and their J-2 family members. By signing this form, J-1 scholars are stating that they understand the requirements and agree to comply with them. More information

MIT offers health insurance plans for employees, fellows, visitors, and affiliates. Eligibility for the MIT health plans is determined by title, percentage of the appointment, duration of the appointment, and whether it is paid or unpaid. Please review the following sections to understand which health plans you are eligible for and follow the enrollment procedures.

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Health Plans for Employees

If you are receiving a salary from MIT, you may be eligible to enroll in an employee health plan. Most of the benefit programs of MIT are available to faculty and staff members, or paid Postdoctoral Associates, who are appointed for at least three months, for at least 50% time, and are paid by MIT. Eligibility for some plans, including the dental plan, requires a longer appointment period. For more information, go to Human Resources' Employee Benefits website.

If you are not sure if you are eligible for MIT benefits, speak to the Administrative Officer or Personnel Administrator in your department, laboratory, or center; contact the Benefits Office (Building E19-215, tel. 617-253-6151, e-mail: benefits@mit.edu); or consult the Employee Benefits website.

Individuals with the following MIT titles are among those NOT eligible for MIT benefits: Postdoctoral Fellow*, Research Fellow, Research Affiliate, and those on "Visiting" appointments. (*Postdoctoral Fellows are, in some cases, eligible for either the MIT Health Plan or the MIT Affiliate Health Plan. Contact the Administrative Officer or Personnel Administrator in your department, laboratory, or center for details.)

MIT offers a choice of two health plans ("MIT Traditional" or "MIT Choice") to benefits-eligible employees. You can enroll in one of the available health plans within 31 days of your starting date, or within 31 days of receiving your official welcome letter, whichever is later. For more information about MIT benefits, including health insurance, complete the online New Employee Orientation.

When you enroll in one of the MIT employee health plans, you will have the insurance coverage required by the Department of State for J-1 exchange visitors. MIT will pay for some of the cost of the health plan you choose, and the balance is deducted from your paycheck.

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Health Plan for Affiliates

If you are not receiving a salary from MIT, you are not eligible for the employee health plans, but you may qualify for the MIT Affiliate Health Plan, which includes both the Affiliate Medical Plan and the Affiliate Extended Insurance Plan. The Plan is available to individuals who are appointed for at least 50% time, for at least three months. Typical titles that are eligible for the Affiliate Healh Plan include Postdoctoral Fellow, Visiting Professor, Visiting Scholar, Visiting Scientist, and Visiting Engineer. You may enroll in the Affiliate Health Plan within 30 days from the start date of your appointment. If you would like to enroll family members who are arriving later, you must enroll them within 30 days from their arrival date.

To enroll in the Plan or for more information, contact the Health Plans Office (Building E23-308, tel. 617-253-4371, e-mail: affplan@med.mit.edu) or consult the website. The MIT Affiliate Health Plan meets the Department of State's J-1 requirements.

Note: The MIT Affiliate Health Plan always starts on the first day of the month. Upon enrollment, it must be purchased for the entire month, regardless of enrollment date, and cannot be prorated for part of a month.

Postdoctoral Fellows with appointments of at least nine consecutive months are eligible for the MIT Dental Plan through MIT Benefits. More information

If your insurance is not from MIT, please make sure to check whether repatriation and medical evacuation coverage are included in your health plan as requred by the Department of State's J-1 regulations. If you need to purchase them separately, please consult with the ISchO.

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Using Insurance from Your Home Country

If you do not want to enroll in an MIT health plan because you brought your own insurance, you must do all of the following:

  • Sign an Affiliate Health Insurance Waiver Form stating that you do not wish to purchase insurance through the Affiliate Health Plan.
  • Attach a copy of your insurance policy (the document that describes covered services and amounts of coverage).
  • J-1 exchange visitors must also sign a Statement of Compliance for the ISchO stating that they understand and will comply with the health insurance requirements.

Your insurance plan must meet the State of Massachusetts requirements, and the Department of State's J-1 requirements (if applicable). The Department of State requires that all J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependents have medical evacuation and repatriation of remains insurance. If you do not have this kind of insurance included in the plan you brought from home, you must purchase it separately. The cost is reasonable, about $50-$200 per year. Please ask the ISchO for a list of companies that provide this insurance.

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My Insurance is Backed by my Home Government

If you brought insurance sponsored by your home government, you will need to sign an Affiliate Health Insurance Waiver Form for the Health Plans Office. J-1 exchange visitors are also required to sign the Statement of Compliance for the ISchO stating that they understand and agree to comply with the requirements.

Please Note: If you have insurance from a foreign government, repatriation and medical evacuation might not be included in your policy. Please check your policy/coverage. If needed, consult with the ISchO regarding how to purchase this required coverage.

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Last Updated: May 2015

77 Massachusetts Ave, Room E38-219, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 | Telephone: (617) 253-2851 | Fax: (617) 253-6624 | E-mail: iso@mit.edu