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Cardinal Care Overview & Benefits

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Cardinal Care, the university sponsored health insurance option, is a comprehensive plan specifically designed for Stanford students. Medical benefits are administered by Health Net of California, mental health benefits are administered by Managed Health Network (MHN), a Health Net company, and dental benefits are administered by Delta Dental of California.

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Cardinal Care features

  • Comprehensive, worldwide coverage, including medical and mental health care, hospitalization, emergency care, and most pharmaceuticals.
  • Services by referral at Stanford Healthcare.
  • Enrollment in Cardinal Care is an annual commitment, with fees that are charged over three academic quarters (Autumn, Winter, Spring) for the annual period for most students. The full plan year runs September 1 through August 31.
 ProFros run a gantlet of cheering students on their way in to Frost Amphitheater. Admit Weekend. Credit:  Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

Additional Information

Cardinal Care offers robust coverage at school, at home, and while traveling or studying abroad. This is important for Stanford students, many of whom are on the move. Cardinal Care also provides coverage for eligible enrollees during leaves of absence, school breaks, immediately following graduation, and in quarters when students might not be registered for classes, such as summer. Students enrolled in Cardinal Care have access to Stanford faculty specialists and to hospital and emergency care at the Stanford University Medical Center.

  • Note: Enrollment in Cardinal Care or the decision to waive Cardinal coverage is an annual commitment. This means that the decision made at the first quarter of entry for any academic year is binding for the remainder of that academic year. The only exception to the annual commitment occurs for students who graduate at the end of autumn or winter quarters. Autumn and winter graduates may petition to cancel Cardinal Care coverage at the end of the coverage period associated with the quarter in which they graduate.
 A group of admits and their student hosts pose for a shot before heading to their dorm. Credit:  Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

Cardinal Care & Stanford Student Dependent Health Insurance for 2022-2023

Stanford University requires that all registered students carry adequate health insurance. This requirement can be met either through Cardinal Care, the university sponsored health insurance plan, or through an alternative insurance plan that has comparable benefits. 

Students stopped to chat after class at the bike racks along Lasuen Mall outside of the Cubberly School of Education Building. Credit: Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

Enrollment in Cardinal Care

How does enrollment in Cardinal Care Work? All students are initially enrolled in Cardinal Care. As part of the university’s requirement that all students have adequate health insurance coverage, all registered students are initially and automatically enrolled in Cardinal Care in their first registered quarter of each academic year.

 ProFros run a gantlet of cheering students on their way in to Frost Amphitheater. Admit Weekend. Credit:  Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

Medical, Mental Health & Dental Benefits

Cardinal Care is structured to complement the care that is available to students through Vaden. (Much of the care provided at Vaden is covered under the Health Fee.)

Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery. Detail of the main entrance archway. Credit: Benjamin Tong / Stanford University

Cost & Coverage Dates

View important information cost and coverage dates as well as supplemental information, including Cardinal Care Subsidy for Graduate Student.