Health Insurance Overview

Stanford's Health Care Resources

While at Stanford, your health care resources include the following:

  • Access to Vaden Health Center – All students can access Vaden Health Center services during their academic careers at Stanford. As a member of the Stanford campus community all services are geared to your well-being. Vaden Health Center services include primary care, counseling and pyschological care, radiology, lab, pharmacy, physical therapy and nutrition.
  • Insurance – You will need health insurance when accessing health care outside of Vaden. Examples of services that require health insurance are referrals to specialists, inpatient care, emergency care, and services while away from campus (such as when traveling within the US or internationally).

General Introduction to the Insurance Requirement at Stanford University

At Vaden Health Center, we specialize in you. Our students have diverse, individual needs, but the student community has a great deal in common, too. One need we all share is health insurance coverage. Stanford requires that all students have health insurance coverage.

To help you meet this requirement, Stanford University offers Cardinal Care, a comprehensive health insurance plan covering a wide range of services. Stanford automatically enrolls you in Cardinal Care at the start of each academic year.

Domestic students with alternative health insurance may waive Cardinal Care and must do so by the applicable deadline. You may waive out by documenting that you have coverage (including professional services, such as specialists and hospitalization) from another health insurance carrier.

Special Note to International Students

American Health Care

International students are also automatically enrolled in Cardinal Care, but may apply for an exception if covered through an alternative insurance plan with benefits that meet or exceed minimum standards set by the university. You can find more details about the minimum standards and how to apply for the exception at


For J-1 and J-2 students or dependents
For those students and dependents wishing to purchase individual, state or county health plans, Stanford University has self-insurance for repatriation up to $7,500 and medical evacuation up to $10,000. To view the details of the Stanford University self-insurance plan, please see Foreign Students (PDF format).

In contrast, Cardinal Care (the Stanford University student health insurance plan) provides Emergency Travel Assistance Services, administered by OnCall International. Unlimited medical evacuation and repatriation coverage are included among its benefits.

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Insurance Office

(650) 723-2135
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Hours & Location
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Insurance Staff

Related Resources

Vaden Virtual Health Library

Useful Websites

Medical plan administration HealthNet of California
(800) 250-5226

Mental health administration, MHN
HealthNet of California
(800) 327-0307