Postdoc Health Insurance Policy

Effective October 1, 2013, all newly-appointed HSPH postdoctoral research fellows (postdocs) must have health insurance coverage that meets the Massachusetts minimum coverage (see Minimum Creditable Coverage (MCC) Requirements).  Postdocs who are not on the Harvard payroll and thus not eligible for Harvard University employee health insurance, must complete a Confirmation of Health Insurance Coverage form to confirm their health insurance coverage before their appointment will be processed by the Office of Faculty Affairs.

Details of the Policy on Health Coverage for HSPH Postdocs is available online.

Health insurance plans that are non-employee postdocs may want to purchase include:

  • purchase of an individual or family Commonwealth Choice Plan from the Massachusetts Health Connector, or directly from one of the participating health insurance companies.  Among the types of plans offered, the Bronze Plan is the minimum level of coverage that meets the requirements of state law, and the minimum level of coverage that meets the requirements of this policy
  • Postdocs who hold a J-1 visa are required to have medical coverage that meets U.S. government regulations.  These include repatriation and medical evacuation insurance.  Information about this policy is available on the Harvard International Office’s (HIO) website.  The HIO website also provides information about non-Harvard insurance plans that meet the J-1 visa requirements.

Postdocs will be reimbursed up to $2500 per year for the cost of health insurance.  These reimbursements are considered income by the Internal Revenue Service, and may be taxable. Payments given to nonresident aliens for U. S. tax purposes will have taxes withheld unless the individual qualifies for, and is granted, a tax treaty benefit that reduces or eliminates tax withholding.  In the absence of a tax treaty benefit, the withholding rate depends on the type of visa held.  For F, J, M, and Q visas, the withholding rate is 14%; for all other visas, the withholding rate is 30%.   Information on payments to foreign nationals can be found at