Using Your Own Health Insurance

On this page:

Factors to consider if you want to use your own insurance

Health insurance plans vary in the coverage they offer. The Health Insurance Comparison Worksheet 2013-2014 (PDF format) will help you “do your homework” about Cardinal Care, your family health insurance policy, or any - other plan you might consider.

We provide this worksheet so you can make the best decision to protect your student’s health while being cognizant of your finances. To ensure that your selection provides adequate coverage for your student’s anticipated and unanticipated health care needs, please note our recommendations (see asterisks * in the PDF).

Many managed health care plans provide only for emergency care outside their local service area. Check your policy carefully before completing the waiver form.

back to top

How to waive Cardinal Care

At the start of each academic year, students are automatically enrolled in Cardinal Care in their first registered quarter.

Domestic students who choose not to participate in Cardinal Care only have to waive once each academic year and must waive coverage before the first quarter in which they are enrolled for that academic year. At that time, and that time only, they will be able to waive Cardinal Care for the rest of the year by documenting equivalent health insurance in Axess at by the applicable deadline listed below.

The decision made at the start of each academic year (normally this is Autumn quarter) is binding for the remainder of the academic year.

The deadline to waive Cardinal Care in Axess:

Fall Quarter


September 15 for students entering Stanford in Autumn

Winter Quarter


December 15 for students entering Stanford in Winter

Spring Quarter


March 15 for students entering Stanford in Spring

Summer Quarter


June 15 for students entering Stanford in Summer


  • The waiver must be completed before the waiver deadline.
  • The waiver applies to the academic year.
  • A health plan name, group policy number and health plan phone number are required to complete the health insurance waiver.

Remember, review your policy carefully before deciding to complete the waiver form. It can be found online at

back to top

International students must have coverage that meets or exceeds minimum standards established by the university in order to opt out of Cardinal Care.

International students may request an exception on an annual basis to the mandatory Cardinal Care insurance by having their insurance company complete an Insurance Coverage Certification Form. The insurance policy must cover the entire academic period of September 1 – August 31 with benefits that meet or exceed the following minimum standards:

  • Annual deductible less than $1,000
  • Lifetime aggregate maximum benefit of at least $2,000,000 OR maximum per condition/per lifetime benefit of $500,000
  • Covers inpatient and outpatient medical care in San Francisco Bay Area and U.S.
  • Covers inpatient and outpatient mental health care in San Francisco Bay Area and U.S.
  • Covers prescriptions
  • Covers non-emergency visits as well as emergency care
  • Policy covers pre-existing conditions OR the insured student has met applicable waiting periods

Although not a requirement of Stanford University, the U.S. Department of State requires that J1 visa holders have a policy with minimum coverage of $7,500 for repatriation of remains and $10,000 for medical evacuation.

Students must submit completed Insurance Coverage Certification forms to the Vaden Health Center Insurance Office via email (scanned form), US mail, FedEx/UPS, or hand delivery to Vaden.

back to top


Cardinal Care Information

back to top


Insurance Office

(650) 723-2135
Submit a HelpSU ticket

Hours & Location
Drop in or schedule an appointment

Insurance Staff

Related Resources

Vaden Virtual Health Library

Useful Websites

Medical plan administration
(800) 250-5226

Mental health administration, MHN
(800) 327-0307