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Guide for Parents of MIT Students

College is a time of transition and new independence. It's a time when students begin to do more on their own, including accessing medical care. Nevertheless, parents continue to provide critical guidance and support. Often, you are the first person your son or daughter will call when he or she feels sick or has a health problem. At MIT Medical, we want to work with you to facilitate your son or daughter's health and happiness.

We encourage you to call MIT Medical and talk with us about any health concerns. Although we cannot share medical information without your child's consent, we can suggest approaches for communicating with your child about health-related topics and point you to additional resources. Before you call your child's provider directly, first contact Maryanne Kirkbride, M.S./M.B.A., R.N., Clinical Director of Campus Life at 617-253-5240 (, or Shawn Ferullo, M.D., Director of Student Health at 617-253-7383 ( We are here to help.

We've also created this guide to make it easy for you to find and connect with the MIT Medical resources and information you're likely to need as a parent of an MIT student.

Urgent and Emergency Care

MIT Medical is an outpatient clinic. There is always somebody here to call with urgent medical questions. MIT Medical's 24-hour help line (617-253-4481) is staffed 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays, by a registered nurse. The Urgent Care Service also has walk-in hours every day from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. If students aren't sure if their condition requires urgent care, they can call 617-253-4481 and speak to a triage specialist, who can give advice about what to do next.

In an emergency, students can dial 100 from any campus phone or 617-253-1212 from any other phone. Depending on the situation, ambulance service will be provided to MIT Medical or a nearby hospital.

Confidential and Inclusive

MIT Medical is required to comply with federal and state laws protecting the privacy of health information about your son or daughter and putting him or her in charge of disclosure of such information. If your student wants you to be involved in his or her medical care at any time, he or she simply needs to give the care provider permission to speak with you about a specific illness or concern. If your student is unconscious or unable to give such permission, but you have been involved in his or her care, we may be able to disclose health information if it is in his or her best interest. It is not possible for a student to grant blanket permission in advance for parents or anyone else to access their health information; each specific instance of care requires separate permission. Please see this informational bulletin from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for more information.

But just because your student's medical records are private, that doesn't mean we're not interested in speaking with you. We will always listen! For non-urgent concerns, please feel free to contact Maryanne Kirkbride, M.S./M.B.A., R.N., clinical director of campus life at 617-253-5240 ( or Shawn Ferullo, M.D., director of student health at 617-253-2974 ( to discuss any concerns you may have about your student's health and wellbeing.

Each year many parents ask about the need for a Health Care Proxy. While MIT Medical makes this form available for all our patients, it is important to note that this form does not provide ongoing access to a student's health information. It is active only when a person is not capable of making health care decisions themselves.

For more information, see What your student needs to know about accessing care at MIT Medical.

Student Health Insurance: What you should know

MIT offers two levels of health insurance coverage: the MIT Student Medical Plan, which provides students with access to care and services at MIT Medical as part of their tuition, and the MIT Student Extended Insurance Plan, which provides coverage for care and services outside of MIT Medical and also meets state requirements for comprehensive health insurance.

All full-time students are automatically enrolled in the MIT Student Medical Plan. The plan covers access to care and services at MIT Medical, including unlimited primary care, urgent care, mental health care, gynecological visits and related tests, laboratory and other diagnostic testing including X-rays and substance abuse support. Most services are covered in full, and the cost of the plan is included in tuition.

The MIT Student Extended Insurance Plan provides comprehensive health insurance coverage designed to coordinate with the services provided through the MIT Student Medical Plan. With the Extended Plan, students have coverage for services that occur outside of MIT Medical such as inpatient hospitalization, inpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment, surgical procedures, emergency room services, advanced imaging studies (ultrasound, CT scan, MRI), and other benefits, such as annual eye exams and prescription drug coverage.

Students are automatically enrolled in and billed for the Extended Plan. Those charges will be reversed if they submit a waiver request and show proof of other insurance coverage that meets Massachusetts requirements. Please note that your child is the only one who can complete the waiver; you cannot do it for him or her. Waiver deadlines are September 15 for the fall semester and February 15 for the spring semester.

Before deciding to waive the MIT Student Extended Insurance Plan, make sure you compare its benefits to those in your existing plan, and find out how your current insurance works while your student is away from home. If you have questions about Massachusetts insurance requirements or need help deciding what coverage is right for your child, you can contact the MIT Health Plans Office at 617-253-1322 or Answers to your questions about insurance will depend on your unique situation, so it is best to speak directly with a member of the Health Plans staff.

School/life balance

MIT is known for being a challenging academic institution. To help students lead more balanced lives, MIT Medical encourages them to take some personal time each day and offers a variety of tips, wellness classes, and resources through Community Wellness at MIT Medical and the Mental Health and Counseling Service. Services such as health consultations, counseling, referrals, fitness classes, and workshops are available to help students stay healthy and happy.


Community Wellness at MIT Medical
M–F, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Health Plans Office
M–F, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Clinical Director for Campus Life
Maryanne Kirkbride, M.S./M.B.A., R.N.

Director of Student Health
Shawn Ferullo, M.D.

MIT Parents Association

MIT's Young Adult Program

Parents of
the Class of 2018

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