Medical Insurance Requirement and Health & Safety Tips
You are required by Emerson College and by Dutch law to have medical insurance during your stay in The Netherlands.
Every full-time and part-time student enrolled in an institution of higher learning in Massachusetts is required to participate in a student health insurance program or in a health benefit plan with comparable coverage. This includes students enrolled in the Kasteel Well Program.
If a student has an alternate health plan with comparable coverage under his/her parents’ insurance, the student may request a waiver from participating in Emerson College’s sponsored student health plan. However, for an alternate health plan to be comparable to the student health plan:
The plan must provide to the student reasonably comprehensive coverage of health services, including preventive and primary care, emergency services, hospitalization benefits, ambulatory patient services, and mental health services throughout the school year.
- The services covered under the alternate health plan must be reasonably accessible for all health services to the student in the area where the student attends school.
- A health plan through a closed network of providers and accessible only for emergency services is NOT comparable coverage. Students and parents should be aware of this very important fact.
- The burden of proof that the alternate insurance is adequate falls on the student.
Please check with your insurance agent regarding any policy questions or concerns you may have about health benefits while living and traveling in Europe. If you believe your current insurance policy does not provide sufficient medical coverage while out of your state/geographical service area, please research a health insurance plan that does.
If your current plan meets the coverage requirements, please follow instructions for the Student Health Insurance Plan Online Waiver Form.
Emerson College Aetna Student Health Plan
View information about the Aetna Student Health Plan.
For those students who use the College’s health insurance plan, as part of the plan you are entitled to travel assistance services provided by On Call International. On Call International has extensive college student service experience, including medical evacuation and repatriation coverage and 24-hour medical assistance for members while traveling anywhere in the world.
Additional Study Abroad Insurance Health Plan Information
You are free to choose whatever health insurance plan meets the above requirements. We offer some links below so you can research other options. We do not make recommendations for any of these plans. It is best to talk to your insurance agent about which plan will work for you, or which plan could supplement your current insurance policy to meet the State of MA and Dutch requirements.
Also, it will be helpful to read this USA Today article about study abroad insurance options.
Study Abroad Insurance
Payment for Medical Services Abroad
European doctors and hospitals will not accept American insurance for payment of services. You must be prepared to pay for services when you use them. Most American insurance carriers (including Aetna Student Health) will reimburse you for these expenses, so be sure to keep all receipts. You should check with your current insurance agent on plan coverage details and on reimbursement procedures before you leave for Europe.
PSYCHOLOGICAL COUNSELING SERVICES are not part of the on-campus services provided by the Office of Student Affairs. The counseling service options recommended to students are a 30-40 minute bus ride from the castle, depending on the business. Details about psychological counseling service will be provided to castle students during Orientation Weekend at Kasteel Well, and can be viewed in the Kasteel Well Student Handbook.
THE HEALTH CLINIC IN WELL provides services roughly comparable to Emerson College’s Health Services Clinic in Boston. There is no charge for the first three visits during the fall and spring semesters. However, X-rays, prescriptions, appointments with specialists, etc., are not included in this service and are the responsibility of the individual student.
You should have a physical exam before you leave; this is a recommendation, not a requirement. If you wear contact lenses, bring an extra pair of contacts plus a spare pair of glasses to wear. We recommend you bring your eye prescription with you. Other medical concerns should be noted on the student forms all accepted students are required to complete.
A NOTE REGARDING PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION: If you use prescription medication on a regular basis, you must bring enough medication to last you for the duration of the semester. It is prohibited to mail medication to the Netherlands. There should be no problem clearing customs with your prescription medication as long as you leave the medication(s) in its original container and it is clearly labeled. You should have a letter from your doctor describing the medical condition and the amount of medicine you use each day. It is recommended that your physician include the generic names for the prescribed drugs. In case of emergency, you can contact a pharmacist who may be able to prescribe a comparable medication with your doctor's prescription from the United States.
It is prohibited to bring narcotics into the Netherlands. Please check with the foreign embassy of the Netherlands, as well as other countries you will be visiting, to make sure the medications you are traveling with are not considered to be illegal narcotics. A list of foreign embassies and consulates in the U.S. can be found on the State Department's website.
Emerson College cannot guarantee your safety while abroad. Traveling and living abroad for Americans is becoming more complicated. Most cities in Europe are very safe. Assaults are rare. As in any city, however, the tourist is always a target for the criminal element, especially pickpockets. We suggest the following to help improve your level of safety while abroad:
- Try to fit in; minimize your “foreignness” in your actions and appearance.
- Be vigilant in public areas that attract tourists and foreigners. Look out for anything suspicious and be aware of your surroundings.
- Do not leave luggage or handbags unattended anytime, anywhere, particularly in bus, rail, and subway stations, restaurants, and airport terminals. ALWAYS KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR VALUABLES! Assaults are rare, but pickpocketing is an “art form,” especially in Prague, Barcelona, Madrid, and the Grand Canary Islands.
- Purses should be kept securely fastened, and shoulder bags should be held against the body. Wallets should be carried in a front trouser pocket. Consider using a money belt and passport holder.
- Guard your handbags, backpacks, and laptops against pickpockets, and thieves on motorcycles and mopeds, on public transportation and in tourist sites.
- Dial 112 in any type of emergency. All Schengen states use 112 as the emergency number.
- Pay attention to your body language. Cultural differences are often reflected in the way people move and carry themselves. Be aware of your hand gestures; they can have profoundly different interpretations from one culture to another.
- Leave valuable items, such as jewelry and cash not immediately needed, locked up in your room.
- Use common sense at ATMs; use ATMs located inside buildings or in busy public places where it is difficult for criminals to tamper with the machines. Do not use machines in isolated areas or at night.
- Travel in groups of two or more, if possible.
- Regularly check the travel advice of the country you will be visiting.
- Always carry the phone number to the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate for the place(s) you will visit.
- Always carry the Kasteel Well “RED CARD” with you.
- Avoid moneychangers on the street: they may pass off counterfeit U.S. dollars and local currency.
- Inform Kasteel Well staff of ailments, the after-effects of minor injuries, or any emotional problems that last longer than a few days.
- Take a photocopy of your passport, credit cards, or bankcards and the numbers you'll need to call if anything is lost or stolen and keep this in your room at the castle. You should also leave a photocopy of these items with your parents or other responsible family member, so that they can assist you from home, if needed.
- Learn to be an organized traveler. Keep documents safe, but readily available when on the move.
Included in the European Travel Package is third-party liability insurance. This insurance covers the insured’s personal liability for damages, loss of property, injury, or death caused or inflicted under the insurance period. The liability insurance period ends 30 days after the student's departure from The Netherlands.
Fitness Center in Well
In addition to a small weight room at the castle, there is a fitness center located in Well that offers Emerson students discounted memberships. Students can apply for a two-month membership or pay €20 per month to use the pool and fitness facilities once a week.
The fitness center is a 15–20 minute bike ride from the castle. The fitness center offers an indoor swimming pool, aerobics and pilates classes, and various gym equipment and machines. Please visit the fitness center in Well to view photos and opening hours.