Health Insurance

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All guest researchers are required to have health insurance during their time at NIST. There are many different options for getting health insurance but only some are suitable for guest reseearchers. This page gathers as much of that information as we can find. Please contact us if you find any new health insurance options!



NIST guest researchers are required to have health insurance which has:

  • Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness;
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $7500;
  • $10,000 Medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country;
  • A deductible that does not exceed $500 per accident or illness.

How it works

When you go to the doctor you must give your insurance information at reception. Sometimes you must also send a claim form to the insurance company (it depends on the company).

You will probably have to pay some of the cost of your treatment. Every time you make an insurance claim you have to pay the deductible. It is usually $100 or so depending on your insurance plan. Some plans also have something called "copay" or "coinsurance". This means that you have to pay some small fraction of the total cost of treatment. For example, some plans make you pay 10 % of the first $5000 of treatment. When you are choosing a plan, try to find one that is suitable and has low copay.

If you need to buy some medication at the drug store, you may have to pay and get refund after. Sometimes it can cost a lot! The cheapest place to get medication is the pharmacy at Walmart (generic antibiotics are $5).

Health care providers

Which health care provider should you buy from? We can't make this choice for you but we can show you all the options. Many of the most common choices are summarized in the table below.

There is also a search engine for health insurance for visitors to the US. It is called NROIL. [1]

This is a list of some health care providers used by guest researchers on J1 visas.

Health care provider Deductable & Copay Limits Notes
Patriot Exchange Program

provided by IMG global

$100 deductable

No copay

Basic plan: $10,000 per illness

Standard plan: choice of between $50k and $500k per illness


Cost: about $1000 per year depending on your age and plan choice

Gateway USA

provided by IMG global

Adjustable deductable

No copay for treatment outside USA
In the U.S. & Canada:
10 % of the first $5000 in the PPO network (up to the max)
20 % of the first $5000 outdide the PPO network (up to the max)

$50,000 or more depending on plan choice. Link:[3]
The Harbour Group

International Student & Scholar Medical Insurance Plan

$150 deductable

20 % copay up to $10,000

$250,000 maximum benefit Link:[4]

Cost per month in 2013:
Age: 19-23, $62
Age: 24-29, $79
Age: 30-35, $143
Age: 36-49, $320


TravMed Choice

$150 and $250 options

Copay: 20% up to $5,000

$50k to $250k maximum benefit depending on plan choice Link:[5]
AVI International

Studies and internships coverage

No deductible or copay
100,000 € to 300,000 € maximum benefit depending on plan choice Link:[6]

Classic: 36 € /month
Premium: 39 € /month
Premium+:49 € /month

MSH International

Junior Expat
or 1st Euro plans

No deductible or copay
€200,000 on Junior Expat plan Link:[7]

Junior Expat: €162 for 3 months
or €590 per year
Consider this company if you have a pre-existing condition.

Image:Flag_France.gif VIE

French citizens only

This is probably the best options if you are French.
Mawista Reisecare

German company

No deductible or copay
No limit. Mawista Reisecare:[8]

€ 3.50 per day
Includes some dental coverage
Other plans available, but only for Germans, from €45 per month. Link:[9]

Contact lenses

A prescription is required to get contact lenses in the USA. You need to take an eye examination with an optician to obtain a prescription which is about $100. If you are a foreign guest researcher, then bring a stack of contact lenses with you.

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