The US Code of Federal Regulations requires all participants to an exchange program to have sufficient insurance that covers them for sicknesses or accidents during the length of the J-1 program.This insurance should respect the Department of State of America criteria. Placement International provides insurance coverage required by federal regulations.
There is no National Health insurance in the U.S. This is why the United States Information Agency (USIA) requires that all exchange visitors have insurance meeting their standards. The insurance you will purchase with your DS 2019 will have to be designed to meet these USIA requirements.
If a doctor treats you, you may have to pay the bills first and then file a claim with your insurance company for reimbursement. It is therefore crucial that you keep careful records and receipts of all medical services that you receive. If you have a major accident or illness and cannot pay your medical costs up front, contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Please refer to your insurance information for details on how to make claims.
If you are going to see a doctor for a medical problem that is not an emergency, check your health insurance policy to make sure that this type of treatment is covered. For example, most international health insurance policies do not cover preexisting medical problems.
Hospitals, Clinics, and Emergency Rooms
Medical fees will depend on the doctor, the type of facility, and its location in the country. In certain areas of the country, especially large cities, medical care will be significantly more expensive. Unless you need immediate treatment, it is better not to go to a hospital Emergency Room to see a doctor. You should use these facilities for emergencies only as they tend to be expensive. When you have established yourself in an area, it is a good idea to find a private doctor. You can ask friends or colleagues or call your local hospital for recommendations. The consulate of your country may also be able to provide a list of approved physicians. However, walk-in clinics have sprung up all around the country in recent years. They tend to be less costly, and for people who do not have a continuing relationship with a doctor they can be a good choice.
If you require medicine containing controlled drugs or narcotics (e.g., heart medication, sleeping pills, or stimulants), you should have each of these products properly packaged and labeled. You will not be able to have foreign prescriptions for controlled drugs filled in American pharmacies or by an American doctor. You should also have a statement or prescription from your doctor translated into English indicating that the medicine is being used under the orders of a doctor and is necessary for your physical well being. Also keep in mind that not all over-the-counter medicine is easily available in the United States. For example, birth control pills are not free in the United States. It is best to bring enough drugs to cover any need you might have for them during your entire stay in the United States. This way, you avoid additional costs.