Students: make sure you carry your immunization records with you, or prepare to obtain any required vaccines upon arrival. Your school will provide you with information about your immunization requirements and vaccination options, if needed.
Bring a short-term supply of any essential medication (such as insulin), since it may take time before you will be able to access a US doctor or pharmacy. Read this information page for travelers from the US Food and Drug Administration about bringing prescription medicine to the US.
Obtain short-term travel insurance from your home country or a US provider to cover the time following your arrival in the US and before your studies or employment at Tufts begins.
If you will be joined by family members, review your health insurance plan to see what coverage is provided for standard and urgent medical care.
If you expect to need dental care, review your options available through the Tufts Dental Clinic.
Health Care and Health Insurance
Your health is a top priority while you are here as a student, scholar or employee. To this end, Tufts provides a variety of resources to support its students and employees. These include health insurance plans and programs, student health centers, and a variety of wellness programs. Learn more about these resources below.
Campus Health Services
The University provides a variety of health care and support services. See the list below for the resources available at your campus.
International students and scholars should be aware that health care in the US is extremely expensive, and the health insurance system is extraordinarily complex. There is no national health insurance system; instead, each individual is responsible for ensuring that they have adequate health insurance coverage while in the US. Failure to have health insurance can lead to extraordinarily high medical costs and extreme financial hardship. Because of these considerations, Tufts requires international students to enroll in the University's student health insurance plan or show that they have alternative outside insurance that provides comparable coverage.
Dental Care. Many dental care procedures are not automatically covered by health insurance and requires purchase of additional plans. Students at the Medford and SMFA campuses are eligible to purchase additional dental care coverage alongside their health insurance coverage. Persons who need dental care are also encouraged to consider dental care services through the Tufts Dental School.
Insurance plans often use terminology that can be extremely confusing to students, scholars, and employees. Below you can find common medical insurance terms. Please note that the definitions below are intended for general information. Always consult with your insurance provider with your specific questions about your insurance plan.
Premium: this is what your insurance provider charges for the cost of providing insurance coverage to you. Premiums are often charged on a monthly basis, although student insurance charges are typically on a semester basis.
Co-Pay: this is a charge that you may have to pay when visiting a doctor or medical care provider, or when filling a prescription for medication. For example, you may need to pay a $20 copay when visiting a doctor or $10 copay when getting medication from a pharmacy. The amount of your co-pay is determined by your insurance plan.
Deductible: this is the amount you yourself must pay for a certain type of medical procedure before the insurance plan starts to cover treatment costs. Once you reach the deductible, the plan may pay for 100% of costs or a certain percentage of the remaining costs.
Out-of-pocket maximums: this is the maximum amount you will pay during the insurance plan coverage period for a particular type of medical service covered by your insurance plan. Depending on the insurance plan specifics, the out-of-pocket maximum can include the amount you pay for co-pays, deductibles, or other costs that you are required to cover yourself.
Primary care physician and Specialists: Insurance plans often require that you first see a primary care physician, which is usually a family doctor or internal medicine doctor who provides basic patient care. If necessary, your PCP may refer you to a specialist for more specialized medical treatment. In many situations, you must first get a referral from your PCP before you can see a specialist; otherwise, your insurance plan may require you to pay a higher level of cost for any medical procedures or treatment.
In-network / Out-of-network: insurance plans very often establish different rates for doctors, pharmacies, and other health care providers that are inside or "within" a particular network. Charges - including co-pays and deductibles - and covered services may be higher and covered services more restricted if you use an out-of-network provider. For this reason, it is extremely important when visiting a doctor to identify providers that are inside your plan's network.
Special Insurance Requirements for J-1 Exchange Visitors
J-1 Exchange Visitor Insurance Requirements
All J-1 Exchange Visitors and their J-2 dependents are required by federal regulations to have medical insurance for the entire period of their stay in the U.S. You may select the medical insurance that is best for you and any family; however, under J-1 visa regulations, your insurance plan must meet the following minimum coverage requirements:
$100,000 per accident or illness
Medical evacuation in the amount of $50,000
Repatriation coverage of $25,000
A deductible of no more than $500
Tufts Employee Health Insurance
If you are eligible for health benefits through Tufts University, your sponsoring department should schedule an orientation with the Human Resources Department immediately upon your arrival.
At the Benefits orientation, please be sure to inform them if you have J-1 status. The Benefits Office is located at 200 Boston Avenue, Tufts University, Medford Campus. They can be reached at 617-627-3270.
If you are eligible for health insurance benefits through Tufts, but choose not to participate in any of the plans offered, it is YOUR responsibility to ensure that you maintain insurance coverage which meets the J-1 health insurance requirements, as previously described on Page 1.
Postdoctoral Associates and Postdoctoral Fellows are offered a separate health benefits package. For questions on this type of package, contact the Student Advisory & Health Administration (120 Posner Hall, 200 Harrison Avenue). They can be reached at 617-636-2700 for questions.
The insurance plan offered to postdoctoral associates & postdoctoral fellows by Tufts meet all of the J-1 Health Insurance Requirements, including "Repatriation of Remains" and "Medical Evacuation." Repatriation of Remains and Medical Evacuation coverage is only for those J-1 scholars who are benefits eligible and who have enrolled in one of the benefits insurance companies offered by Tufts.
If you are not eligible for health insurance benefits from Tufts University, you are required to purchase your own insurance coverage which meets J-1 regulations. Contact the International Center if you need information about health insurance options.
Counseling and Mental Health Support
International students, scholars, and employees are encouraged to use a variety of resources to support mental health and wellbeing. Students on the Medford / Somerville and SMFA campuses have access to private and confidential services provided by the Counseling and Mental Health Service, including services for mental health emergencies.
Counseling Support Outside the US. In addition, international Tufts students living at home have free access to direct support 24/7 as well as short-term counseling provided by Workplace Options. This service is confidential, available in any language and can be accessed anytime while students are home over the summer or during breaks in their respective country. Students can call them anytime at +44 20 8987 6230 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to request a therapist or connection to local resources. Workplace Options is staffed by professionals who are completely independent from Tufts. They are bound by professional standards regarding confidentiality, and do not disclose details of individuals who have contacted the service. Any information shared is at the student’s discretion and will not be shared with Tufts. Students can access their website (students.helpwhereyouare.com) using student code: Tufts. The information above is also available on the Tufts Counseling and Mental Health Services website.
To promote health and wellness, Tufts has athletic facilities for students, scholars, and employees. All members of the Tufts community are encouraged to use these resources.