Frequently Asked Questions About Health Insurance for J-2 Dependents

All J-1s are required to provide their dependents with adequate health insurance, as required by the J Exchange Visitor visa regulations. The University of Minnesota requires all international scholars, student-interns, and accompanying dependents to purchase the university's insurance, the Student Health Benefit Plan (SHBP).

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When can a J-1 Scholar employed by the University of Minnesota enroll in the employee health benefit plan?

A. During a period of time called Open Enrollment (each year during the month of November). This is a time in which ALL employees can update or change their employee health benefits (insurance).


B. During a 30-day event window. An "event" could be the hiring of a new employee. For example, the J-1 Scholar who is hired to begin their employment on June 1st will have up until June 30th (30 day window) to enroll in employee health benefits (insurance).

How does the employee pay for the health insurance that they enrolled for?

The employee’s health insurance premium is automatically deducted from their paycheck before taxes are removed. This payment method is referred to as a "pre-tax deduction."

When can a UMN employee's J-2 dependent be added to their health insurance plan?

A. Dependents can be added to the health insurance plan at the same time as the J-1 University of Minnesota employee: during Open Enrollment or at the time when the J-1 scholar is hired and enrolls within the 30 day event window.


B. Within 30 days of the J-2 arriving in the United States to join the J-1.

How does the J-1 scholar pay for health insurance premiums if their J-2 arrives later than the scholar and during a time that is not Open Enrollment (month of November)?

The employee's health insurance premium will no longer be automatically taken from their paycheck through a pre-tax deduction. Instead, the J-1 scholar will receive a bill in the mail, and they will have to mail the payment in. This payment is referred to as "direct bill" and "post-tax."

The J-1 scholar will need to manually pay the bill for the cost of the J-1 and J-2's premiums until the next Open Enrollment period (November). The UMN Benefits Service Team will review and change the scholar's record so that the premiums for both the J-1 and J-2 will automatically be deducted from the J-1's paycheck, pre-tax. Scholars do not need to do anything for this to occur, but they should verify the change with the Total Compensation Office.

What happens if payment is not received by the due date shown on the statement, when a scholar is being billed directly?

The scholar's benefits may be cancelled, and the J-1 will no longer be in compliance with J-1 regulations.

A Final Notice will be mailed before coverage is ended. This notice will state the date on which the coverage will terminate, unless the payment has been received by that date.

Last updated: June 7, 2021