Scholars and Dependents

Auburn University requires all J-1 international scholars, J-1 student-interns, and J-2 dependents to purchase Auburn University insurance.

J-1 scholars and their J-2 dependents are required to have either an Auburn University Employee Benefits Medical Plan or Auburn University Student Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) for International Scholars. U.S. Department of State (DOS) regulations require you to have health insurance that covers you and any accompanying J-2 dependents for sickness or accident coverage for the duration of your J-1 Program. Willful failure to maintain proper insurance coverage or misrepresentation of coverage is a violation of your J-1 status.

This requirement applies to J-1 scholars, J-1 student-interns and their J-2 dependents on all Auburn University system campuses.

Upon your arrival to campus, you will need to enroll in health insurance with the Insurance office in Foy Hall. DO NOT purchase other health insurance plans from your government or private insurance providers; otherwise you will pay for two insurance policies. Most polices do not meet the university requirements or do not complete our waiver form. If your company can state that your insurance is equal to or better than the insurance plan the university offers, it will be considered. However, these waivers are rarely given.

Auburn University Employee Benefits Medical Plan

Some scholars may be eligible for the Auburn University Employee Benefits health insurance (medical plan). You should contact your hosting department to ask about your employee benefits eligibility. For additional information, contact the Employee Benefits Office at If you choose to enroll in the employee health insurance, then you need to send proof of insurance coverage to the Insurance Office by emailing

Be aware that the university plan does not provide repatriation benefits and therefore if you choose to be on this plan, you must purchase repatriation insurance through the Insurance Office.

The minimum coverage required for repatriation are as follows:

  • Repatriation of remains $25,000
  • Medical evacuation $50,000

If you are not eligible for university employee benefits or choose not to enroll in a university employee medical plan, you must purchase the BCBS of AL plan as described above.

Failure to Comply with the Health Insurance Requirement

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) regulations require J-1 scholars and their J-2 dependents to carry health insurance that meet specific minimum standards. Health insurance must be maintained from the day you arrive in the U.S. through the entire duration of your J-1 program.

If you willfully fail to carry health insurance for yourself or your dependents after your program effective date, Auburn University must terminate your J-1 program and report this to the U.S. Department of State.

In addition to the regulatory reasons for carrying health insurance, health care in the U.S. is complicated and very expensive. One illness or injury can financially devastate you and your family (one day in the hospital can cost well over $10,000). International scholars, student-interns and their dependents are not eligible to use U.S. government paid public assistance programs. Health insurance is designed to prevent depletion of your savings if an accident or illness occurs.

Last Updated: July 11, 2023