ACA stands for Affordable Care Act. The full name of this law is PPACA
or Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. However, many people
commonly refer to it by its nickname, Obamacare.
ACA mandates that all US citizens, permanent residents and certain other
US residents maintain minimum adequate coverage throughout the year.
There are several exemptions to the ACA mandate. One very important
exemption is how it relates to International Students on F and J visas
as well as other J visa holders.
The mandate applies to people who are considered US residents by the IRS
(tax authority in USA).
If you are an international student or a dependent of an international
student on either F visa or J visa, you don’t have to purchase ACA
compliant health insurance for the first 5 years of your US stay.
If you are non-student on a J visa such as Au Pair, Work, and Travel,
Trainees, Interns, Teachers, and Counselors, you don’t have to purchase
ACA compliant health insurance for the first 2 years in the U.S.
After 5 years (or 2 years in case of non-student J visa holders), you
must purchase ACA compliant health insurance if you meet the Substantial
Presence Test by IRS, which is:
* Physically present in the US for at least 31 days in the current
calendar year, and
* The total number of days present in the US exceeds 183 days by
adding the following days:
o All days present in the current calendar year, plus
o 1/3 of the days present in the previous calendar year, plus
o 1/6 of the days present in the calendar year two years ago.
That means that the vast majority of the F and J visa holders would be
exempt from having to purchase ACA compliant medical insurance.
The US government has not specified any insurance requirements for F
Even though not required, many schools and universities in the US
mandate that all international students enroll in ACA compliant group
insurance provided by the school. In that case, students have no other
choice than to do so.
Some schools may offer their own insurance, but allow students to
purchase an insurance plan provided by private companies as long as it
meets the schools minimum requirements, which are not the same
requirements that make a plan ACA compliant. International student
insurance plans are more affordable for international students; as long
as the plan purchased from a private company meets the school’s
requirements that is suitable to the school. There are many such
international student medical insurance plans available for instant purchase online.
After purchasing such insurance, we can assist with getting the waiver form completed.
US Department of State has specified the minimum requirements for J visa
insurance. Some sponsoring organizations let the participants purchase any
compliant J visa insurance.
Some schools and universities provide their ACA compliant group health
insurance that everyone has to enroll in; however, in order to satisfy
the J visa insurance requirements, they would be required to purchase
supplemental coverage, emergency medical evacuation, and repatriation