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Cardinal Care Overview and Benefits

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.

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.

Important to 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.

Medical, Mental Health and 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.)

Medical Benefits

Cardinal Care's medical benefits are administered by Health Net of California. An Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) plan, Cardinal Care lets you decide where to get medical care. The cost at the time of care is dependent on where you receive your treatment. You can choose from one of the following options:

Tier 1 Medical Care: Stanford University Medical Center or Menlo Medical Clinic

Tier 1 coverage allows students to be seen at Stanford University Medical Center or Menlo Medical Clinic with a referral from a Vaden clinician. For office visits and most outpatient services, students pay only a $25 to $35 copayment. (A copayment is the fee you pay each time you receive a service.) For inpatient care at Stanford hospital, coverage is at 100% after a $100 annual deductible and a $500 copay per admission.

Tier 2 Medical Care: Any Health Net Preferred Provider (including Stanford University Medical Center or Menlo Medical Clinic)

Tier 2 coverage allows students to receive care from any Health Net preferred provider. This flexibility can come in especially handy when traveling since Health Net’s network is local, national, and international. When Tier 2 is in effect, Cardinal Care pays 70% of eligible expenses after you meet a $500 annual deductible. (A deductible is the amount you pay each year before Cardinal Care begins reimbursing services.)

Tier 2 allows you to use Stanford University Medical Center or Menlo Medical Clinic without a referral from a Vaden clinician. For Tier 2 benefits outside of California, you must utilize a FIRST HEALTH network provider. Services rendered out of the country are reimbursed at the Tier 2 benefit level.

Be sure to follow the directions on your individualized ID card when accessing health care off campus.

For more information on medical benefits, call 1-800-250-5226 (Health Net of California) or visit the Health Net website and look at My Health Net Plan under the Cardinal Care tab.

Mental Health Benefits

Cardinal Care's mental health care administrator is Managed Health Network, MHN, a Health Net company. MHN administers Cardinal Care’s mental health benefits through a local and national network of mental health clinicians. The greatest benefits (and lowest cost) to students occur when care is first sought at Vaden's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) unit, but students may also access care from an MHN provider directly. For more information, visit the Health Net website.

Please note that as of June 1st, 2021, MHN will no longer cover the copay for telehealth services as they have done since the start of the pandemic.  The mental (tele)health copay will be $25.00 as of June 1st, 2021 for each appointment with an MHN provider.

Dental Benefits

Cardinal Care's dental benefits are administered by Delta Dental of California. Coverage includes diagnostic and preventive services at 100% with a one-time $25 deductible when an in-network Delta Dental PPO dentist is used.

Additional Information About Cardinal Care Benefits

More detailed information about Cardinal Care medical and mental health benefits can be found on the Health Net website or in the Summary of Benefits and Coverage documents below.

2021 - 2022 Summary of Benefits and Coverage

2021-2022 Health Net Summary of Benefits and Coverage - Palo Alto


2021-2022 Health Net Summary of Benefits and Coverage - Monterey


2021-2022 Student Health Matters

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