UKIC / International Student & Scholar Services / International Faculty & Staff / J-1 Exchange Visitors / Health Insurance

Health Insurance

Health Coverage for J-1 Exchange Visitors

The US Department of State requires all J-1 Exchange Visitors and their J-2 dependents to carry health, repatriation and medical evacuation coverage when they are participating in the Exchange Visitor Program. In order to ensure adequate coverage and compliance, the University of Kentucky requires that J-1 visiting scholars and their dependents purchase the UK Student Health Plan (SHP). An Exchange Visitor’s visa status will be terminated if it is determined that the EV and accompanying dependents willfully failed to remain in compliance. J-2 dependents with a DS-2019 issued by a non-UK entity, organization, or government agency may choose to purchase insurance from other health providers, unless enrolling in coursework or beginning employment with the University of Kentucky.

Unpaid university exchange visitors should review and purchase the student health plan using the instructions below.  Exchange Visitors do not need to buy health coverage prior to arrival in the US; however, they must have funds available to purchase it for themselves and their dependents after their arrival on campus.  Payment must be made either with a credit or debit card.  The following instructions are for purchasing the Student Health Plan. This plan should be used by visiting scholars with non-paid assignments with the university and any exchange visitor who is ineligible for university employee plans.  

University paid visiting scholars, full-time postdoctoral scholars, student interns and other J-1 exchange visitors may be eligible to purchase a UK employee health care plan upon arrival.  If you are a university paid employee working 30 hours or more per week and your appointment length of stay is 90 days or more, you may be eligible for a health credit.  

Please note: University of Kentucky's employee health care plan does not include the medical evacuation and repatriation coverage. If you will be enrolling in the UK employee health care plan you must purchase this additional coverage for yourself and your dependents. ISSS recommends that scholars choose one of the following providers.


Health Coverage Pricing 2022-2023


1st Special

8/15/22 - 10/14/22

2nd Special

10/15/22 - 12/14/22

3rd Special

12/15/22 - 2/14/23

4th Special

2/15/23 - 4/14/23

5th Special

4/15/23 - 6/14/23

6th Special

6/15/23 - 8/14/23

Scholar $442 $442 $442 $442 $442 $442
Scholar & Spouse $884 $884 $884 $884 $884 $884
Scholar & Child $884 $884 $884 $884 $884 $884
Scholar & Children $1,326 $1,326 $1,326 $1,326 $1,326 $1,326
Scholar & Spouse & Child $1,326 $1,326 $1,326 $1,326 $1,326 $1,326
Scholar & Spouse & Children $1,768 $1,768 $1,768 $1,768 $1,768 $1,768

Required Health Coverage Specifications

  1. Unlimited coverage per Injury or Sickness. 
  1. Unlimited coverage for essential benefits, including hospitalizations, doctor services, prescription drugs, rehabilitation and mental health services, pregnancy, and newborn care.
  1. Coverage for preventative care at 100% in network including immunizations, physicals exams/screenings, and birth control. A complete list of preventive services can be found at: 
  1. 80% of medical expenses must be paid by the insurance company you have coverage with. 
  1. Covered Expenses related to pregnancy. 
  1. Pre-existing Conditions cannot be excluded for any Covered Persons. 
  1. The issuing company must have a phone contact within the United States. 
  1. Proof of coverage must be provided in English and U.S. currency only. 
  1. $10,000 coverage for medical evacuation (medical evacuation provides transportation to your home country in the event of a medical emergency). 
  1. $10,000 coverage for repatriation (repatriation provides transportation to your home country in the event of death). 

NOTE: Any benefits with a waiting period in force will NOT meet the guidelines to waive coverage.
             Travel Plans will NOT meet the guidelines to waive coverage.

UK's Minimum Health Coverage Criteria

Please note that the University of Kentucky Health Coverage requirements exceed those of the Exchange Visitor Program. The requirements of that program are inadequate because they have not been updated in recent years and do not cover current medical costs.

If an Exchange Visitor has health coverage from another source, it MUST meet ALL the required specifications listed above. If a non-UK health plan is used, a University of Kentucky Benefits Verification Request Form (pdf below) must be completed by the non-UK health insurance provider.  This form will need to be uploaded as part of your post arrival check-in process.  Only this form will satisfy the health coverage requirement. 

Upon arrival, the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Student Health Plan can be purchased independently online by following the instructions below.  If assistance is needed, please email, to make an appointment for assistance.  Coverage begins the day after enrollment.  A J-2 cannot purchase insurance separately from the J-1. 

To enroll for the Student Health Plan, follow the directions below, or you may also follow the STEP by STEP guide at the link at the bottom of the page. 

1. Visit   

2. Click on the “Enrollment” tab.  Then choose "Visiting Scholar Online Enrollment." 

3. Follow directions to enroll yourself and/or any dependents.  In the 'Special Code" field, you will use code "vs2021." 

4. Save confirmation e-mail sent within minutes of enrollment completion. 

5. Insurance proof must be given within three days to the J-1 Advisor. 
Plan beginning and ending dates 

Although the dates of this plan may not match your stay exactly, the SHP permits Visiting Scholars to purchase coverage for less than the entire benefit year (8/15/21-8/14/22) when needed. The UK plan is available in six (6) 2-month periods per benefit year.  These dates and rates cannot be changed to match your arrival or departure dates.

Enrolling in the Plan

You will need a local address, a UK ID number (Excluding the beginning 9: Please ask your department for assistance if necessary) and a credit or debit card to enroll in the UK Student Health Plan online.  

Note:  If you must purchase health coverage before you have been assigned a UK ID number, use your 8-digit date of birth (for example: if your birthday is May 31, 1978, you would enter "05311978") to enroll in the plan.  You must contact the company at (855) 856-2385 when you receive your UK ID number to update your account. 

You can purchase the number of periods you need in one transaction, or you may return to the website to purchase additional coverage periods at a later time. Remember, you must have qualifying coverage for your entire stay at UK.

If you are a Visiting Scholar and already have health insurance, please contact the Student Health Plan Administrator at for a waiver form.  The Health Plan Administrator will determine if you are eligible for a waiver.