The US 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.
Whether you be a student or a scholar, we realize that the health insurance plan you are required to enroll in while at Duke are expensive. And very expensive if you bring your family.
Although the monthly premiums are a lot of money, we cannot emphasize enough how necessary quality health insurance is. For example, should you break a bone, treatment will cost several thousand dollars. If 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.
So do plan to make sure that your budget is adequate to cover the mandatory medical insurance costs here in the United States and in Durham.
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International Undergraduate and Grad/Professional Students
Student Health Fee vs. Insurance
If you need to see a doctor, go to 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 $0. If you are not on campus, you can visit other hospitals as well. Visiting the in-network health care providers will cost you less. Watch this video for more detailed information on your insurance coverage and the service of 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
Your student health insurance covers one routine eye exam per your benefit year. It also reimburses up to $100 toward your purchase of glasses or contact lenses.
Your student health insurance does not cover dental care. You need to enroll for it if you need it. For more information on dental care and insurance, click here.
For eye care and dental care options, please see Finding a Doctor, Eye and Dental Care.
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 for 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, click here.
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International Scholars on J-1 Visa
If you are not enrolled as a student or employed at Duke, see this information sheet on Finding a Doctor for Non-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 after, 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:
J-1 Visa Holders who are NOT Students
International Duke-Sponsored Visitors 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 this 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 UNIVERSITY EMPLOYEES
J-1 Exchange Visitors who will receive monthly paychecks 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 must 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. The health insurance, International SOS, covers these two areas only. For further information, please go to: http://www.internationalsos.com/en/.
NON-DUKE SPONSORED J VISITING SCHOLARS
If Duke did not issue your DS2019, please provide the following information to Duke Visa Services at https://visaservices.duke.edu/category/j1/j_health_insurance/j_health_insurance_expenses.php
1. Name of Sponsor
2. Name of the Insurance Company
Please note that if you willfully fail to carry health insurance for yourself and your dependents, your J-1 sponsor must terminate your program and report the termination to the Exchange Visitor Program at the United States Department of State.
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International Spouses on F-2 Visa, J-2 Visa and H-4 Visa
F-2 Visas: Dependents of DUKE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
International House STRONGLY strongly recommends all F-2 dependents carry health insurance as well.
Duke 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 at all or need assistance with enrollment, please contact Kelan Beacham, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Click here to find a doctor for non-students.
J-2 Visas: Dependents of VISITING SCHOLARS & RESEARCHERS
If 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 Garnett-Powers Insurance plan. 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 Garnett-Powers Health Insurance Plan for Duke go to: http://www.garnett-powers.com/duke/vs/
To enroll in the Garnett-Powers Health Insurance Plan, go to: http://www.garnett-powers.com/duke/vs/enrollment.htm
For information on how to find a doctor, click here.
If your J-1 spouse is a PAID employee of Duke and receiving benefits, you will 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.
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. 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. J1 Exchange Visitors who qualify, as 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, click here.
H-4 Visas: Dependents of DUKE UNIVERSITY EMPLOYEES
If your H-1 spouse IS a PAID employee of Duke (receiving benefits), you will 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. Your H-1 spouse is required to enroll everyone in a health insurance plan within 30 days after starting at Duke.
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 health insurance.
For information on how to Find a Doctor click here.
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