International House (IHouse)

Medical Insurance

General Information

The U.S. medical system is not only very complicated but also very expensive. For example, a single doctor's visit costs at least $200 while a stay in the hospital for an appendectomy, for example, can total around $30,000.  Should you break a bone, treatment will cost several thousand dollars. If you or your spouse were to become pregnant, a normal delivery will cost at least $15,000. Or, should your child fall and need stitches, you will need to pay over $1,000.

As an international student or a scholar, you need to realize that the health insurance plan you are required to enroll in while at Duke is expensive; and it is even more if you bring your family. 

Please know that health insurance is expensive for everyone in the U.S.; however, it cannot be emphasized enough how necessary quality health insurance is for everyone to have.  To make sure that your budget is adequate to cover the mandatory medical insurance costs here in the U.S., please check out the estimated cost of living in Durham at Duke Visa Services website https://visaservices.duke.edu/category/j1/j_health_insurance/j_health_insurance_expenses.php

 

International Undergraduate and Grad/Professional Students

Student Health Fee vs. Insurance

 

Health Care

If you need to see a doctor, go to the Duke Student Health Center. It is located at the Duke Student Wellness Center on West Campus (305 Towerview Road).

Click here for a map of the location.

In most cases, your visit to the Student Health Center will cost you nothing. If you are not on campus, you can visit other hospitals as well. Visiting the in-network health care providers will cost you less than going to an out-of-network provider.  You can find a list of in-network providers on the Student Health website at https://studentaffairs.duke.edu/studenthealth.  For more detailed information on your insurance coverage and the services provided by Student Health Center, contact Student Health Center at 919-681-9355.

Weekday hours: 8:30am – 5:00pm (open at 9:30am on Wednesdays)
Urgent care hours: 9:00am – 11:30am on Sat & Sun

Eye Care
Your student health insurance covers one routine eye exam per benefit year. It also reimburses up to $100 toward your purchase of glasses or contact lenses.

Dental Care
Your student health insurance does not cover dental care. If you want dental insurance, you will need to enroll yourself.  For more information on dental care and insurance, go to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC page at https://studentaffairs.duke.edu/studenthealth/health-insurance/dental-insurance

For eye care and dental care options, please see Finding a Doctor, Eye and Dental Care on the Living Essentials page at https://studentaffairs.duke.edu/ihouse/living-essentials

Medical Insurance

In addition to the Student Health Care fee, all students enrolled at Duke are required to have a mandatory health insurance plan, Student Blue, from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC). The plan provides quality health insurance to meet any additional medical needs of university students. By having Student Blue you get:

  • A health plan from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
  • Access to the largest provider network in the State
  • Coverage that extends across the US and around the world


If you are enrolled in Student Blue, you should have received your medical insurance card by mail. Always carry it with you and be sure to present it when you visit the Student Health Center or any other health care provider you choose to visit.

For more information on the Student Blue health insurance, go to the Student Health website at https://studentaffairs.duke.edu/studenthealth

Duke–Sponsored Scholars on J-1 Visa and who are NOT Duke Students

The Exchange Visitor Program requires all J-1 Exchange Visitor Participants and their family members to maintain medical insurance per 22 C.F.R. § 62.14 of the J regulations. While the Exchange Visitor Program has provided minimum insurance guidelines, it has been determined by Duke University Administration that the minimum standards do not reflect the relatively high cost of medical services in North Carolina.

In order to address this issue, effective August 1, 2013, all J-1 Exchange Visitors with a start date of September 1, 2013 or later on their DS2019s must provide evidence of adequate insurance based on the following options. Please see below specific guidelines for your current J-1 status at Duke University and Health Systems:

The minimum Department of State insurance guidelines and the coverage Duke University requires for a waiver of the HTH Worldwide Insurance plan are:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness.
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000.
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000.
  • A deductible not to exceed $250 per accident or illness.
  • Waiting period for pre-existing conditions of 6 months (current industry standard).
  • May include provisions for co-insurance under the terms of which the exchange visitor may be required to pay up to 25% of the covered benefits per accident or illness.
  • Policy must be secured to meet the benefits requirements and be underwritten by an insurance corporation with an A.M. Best rating of "A-" or above, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of "A-I" or above, a Standard and Poor's Claims Paying Ability rating of "A-" or above, or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above. Alternatively, the sponsor may ascertain that the participant's policy is backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor's home country.

 

Duke-Sponsored Scholars on J-1 Visa who ARE employed by Duke University

J-1 Exchange Visitors who will receive monthly paychecks from Duke may qualify for Duke Employee Medical Insurance. If you are not sure whether or not you qualify, contact your sponsoring department immediately for verification. If you are eligible, you will attend a Benefits Orientation a few weeks after you start to work at Duke. Your J-2 dependents may also be enrolled. Options available to Duke Employees can be found at: http://www.hr.duke.edu//benefits/medical/index.php

The Duke Employee Medical Insurance DOES NOT cover Medical Evacuation and Repatriation of Remains which is required for all J-visa holders. International SOS, covers these two areas only. For further information, please go to: http://www.internationalsos.com/en/


Duke-Sponsored Scholars on J-1 Visa who are NOT enrolled in a Duke academic program and NOT a Duke employee.

Duke University Policy requires enrollment in the HTH Worldwide Insurance Plan. If you have a policy you wish to use instead of HTH Worldwide Insurance Plan, you must submit a copy of the plan with an English translation to HTH Worldwide. If HTH Worldwide determines that the submitted policy is equivalent to the Duke Student Medical Insurance Plan, the requirement to enroll in the HTH Worldwide plan will be waived. Detailed information about enrolling can be found at the following website: https://www.hthstudents.com/
Please enter Group Access Code: LIZ-38528 on the right side of the homepage to sign up for coverage. For more information, please visit: https://visaservices.duke.edu/category/j1/j_health_insurance/j_health_insurance_expenses.php
 

Duke Sponsored Dependents on F-2 Visa, J-2 Visa and H-4 Visa

F-2 Visa Holders: Dependents of DUKE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

International House STRONGLY recommends that all F-2 dependents carry health insurance as well.

  1. University Student Health System offers a very comprehensive health insurance plan through Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina for all student dependents. This is an excellent health insurance plan. It allows one to be seen at all Duke clinics, medical centers, etc.

To learn more about the benefits of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Health Insurance Plan, go to:  https://www.bcbsnc.com/content/studentblue/duke/index.htm?page=benefits                                                                                                                                              
To enroll, go to: https://www.bcbsnc.com/content/studentblue/duke/index.htm?page=enroll&form=dependents

If you have any questions or need assistance with enrollment, please contact Kelan Beacham, at kelan.beacham@duke.edu

If F-2 or J-2 dependents arrive later in the year, then please contact Kelan Beacham very soon after your arrival to add all dependents to the Duke Student’s health insurance plan.

Remember, only students can be seen at the Duke University Student Health Center.

For helping finding a doctor for dependents, please see the Finding a Doctor section of the International House website at https://studentaffairs.duke.edu/ihouse/living-essentials

J-2 Visas: Dependents of VISITING SCHOLARS & RESEARCHERS

  1. your J-1 spouse is an International Duke-Sponsored Visitor not enrolled in a Duke academic program and not a Duke employee, Duke University Policy requires enrollment in the HTH health insurance policy for international visiting scholars and dependents. This is an excellent health insurance plan. It allows one to be seen at all Duke clinics, medical centers, etc.
    To read about the benefits of the HTH Health Insurance policy see the Duke Visa Services page at https://visaservices.duke.edu/category/j1/j_health_insurance/index.php

To enroll in the HTH Health Insurance policy go to: https://www.hthstudents.com/
Please enter Group Access Code: LIZ-38528 on the right side of the homepage to sign up for coverage. For more information, please visit: https://visaservices.duke.edu/category/j1/j_health_insurance/j_health_insurance_expenses.php

If your J-1 spouse is a PAID employee of Duke and receiving benefits, you may also sign up for one of the four health insurance plans offered to Duke employees. Each health insurance plan allows one to be seen at all Duke clinics, medical centers, etc.  This is the best health insurance option available for spouses and dependents.

In order to determine eligibility, the employee must contact the sponsoring department immediately for verification. If the employee is eligible, he or she will attend a Benefits Orientation a few weeks after the start of employment at Duke. J-2 dependents must also be enrolled at this time. Options available to Duke Employees can be found at: http://www.hr.duke.edu//benefits/medical/index.php . Your J-1 spouse is required to enroll everyone in a health insurance plan within 30 days after starting at Duke.

If J-2 dependents arrive later in the year, then please contact the Duke Human Resources department very soon after arrival to add all J-2 dependents to the insurance plan. You must do this within 30 days after arrival.

The Duke Employee Medical Insurance DOES NOT cover medical Evacuation and Repatriation of Remains which is required for all J-visa holders. J Exchange Visitors who are employees are required to have Medical Evacuation and Repatriation coverage and must purchase it from International SOS. For further information, please go to: http://www.internationalsos.com/en/

For information on how to find a doctor, go to the International House website and search Living Essentials at at https://studentaffairs.duke.edu/ihouse/living-essentials

H-4 Visa Holders: Dependents of DUKE UNIVERSITY EMPLOYEES

If your H-1 spouse IS a PAID employee of Duke (receiving benefits), you may sign up for one of the four health insurance plans offered to Duke employees. Each health insurance plan allows one to be seen at all Duke clinics, medical centers, etc.

The H-1 visa holder will attend a Benefits Orientation a few weeks after the start of employment at Duke. Options available to Duke Employees can be found at: http://www.hr.duke.edu//benefits/medical/index.php

If H-4 dependents arrive later in the year, then please contact the Duke Human Resources department very soon after arrival to add all H-4 dependents to the insurance plan. You must do this within 30 days after arrival.

H-visa category does not require Repatriation of Remains and Medical Evacuation

For information on how to find a doctor, go to the International House website and search Living Essentials at at https://studentaffairs.duke.edu/ihouse/living-essentials

 

  1. Sponsored Scholars on J-Visa (Fulbright, etc.)

    If Duke did not issue your DS2019, please provide the following information to http://www.visaservices.duke.edu/J_Health_Insurance.html

    1. Name of Sponsor
    2. Name of your Health Insurance Company

    Please note that if you willfully fail to carry health insurance for yourself and your dependents, your J-1 sponsor must terminate you from your program and report the termination to the Exchange Visitor Program at the United States Department of State.