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Enrollment: Cardinal Care

How Enrollment in Cardinal Care Works

All students are initially enrolled in Cardinal Care.

As part of the university’s requirement that all students have sufficient health insurance coverage, every registered student is initially automatically enrolled in Cardinal Care in his/her first registered quarter of each academic year. The health insurance coverage periods, based on quarter of entry, are as follows:

  • Autumn—coverage is for 12 months (September 1 through August 31) and charges will occur in Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters for the full annual period.
  • Winter—coverage is for 8 months (January 1 through August 31) and charges will occur in Winter and Spring Quarters.
  • Spring—coverage is for 5 months (April 1 through August 31) and the entire charge will occur in Spring Quarter.
  • Summer—coverage is for 3 months (June 1 through August 31) and the entire charge will occur in Summer Quarter.

Students who wish to remain enrolled in the plan for the entire academic year (or remainder of the year, for students whose first registered quarter is not Autumn) need to acknowledge enrollment in the plan by the applicable deadline. Coverage will occur through August 31. The decision to remain enrolled is binding for the academic year.

Students who have adequate alternative coverage  and wish to opt out of Cardinal Care coverage must take action by the applicable deadline. Please see the "How to Waive Cardinal Care" section of this site for further instructions and deadlines. The process differs slightly for domestic students and international students, so please read the text carefully.

Enrollment Considerations for All Students

Cardinal Care is an annual enrollment health insurance plan. The annual fee is billed over three quarters for four quarters of coverage.

For the 2019–20 academic year, the annual cost of Cardinal Care will be $5,592. Students who enter the university in Autumn will be charged $1,864 in Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters and will not be billed in Summer Quarter.

Students enrolled in Cardinal Care are covered during leaves of absence, breaks, immediately following graduation, and quarters in which they are not registered for classes, including Summer Quarter.

Charges for Cardinal Care are prorated for students whose first registered quarter at Stanford is Winter, Spring, or Summer.

  • If a student begins in Winter, coverage is for eight (8) months (January 1 through August 31) and charges will occur over the remaining two quarters of the academic year (Winter and Spring).
  • If a student begins in Spring, coverage is for five (5) months (April 1 through August 31) and the entire charge will occur in Spring Quarter.
  • If a student's first quarter as a registered student is Summer, Cardinal Care can be purchased for the Summer Quarter only. In this case coverage is for three (3) months (June 1 through August 31) and the charge will occur in Summer Quarter.

Remember: Since the plan is an annual one, a student may make the decision to waive coverage or to remain in Cardinal Care only once each academic year.

Cardinal Care Coverage When Leaving the University

Cardinal Care is an annual plan—that is, if you enter Stanford in the Autumn Quarter (and do not take steps to opt out of Cardinal Care by the applicable deadline) you’ll have coverage for the entire year and be charged accordingly. Similarly, if you enter Stanford in other quarters (and do not take steps to opt out of Cardinal Care by the applicable deadline) you’ll have coverage for the remainder of the academic year and be charged accordingly.

The one exception to the annual coverage requirement applies to students who graduate at the end of Autumn or Winter Quarter. Students who plan to permanently end their relationship with the university, through conferral of a terminal degree at the end of Autumn or Winter Quarter, may request to be taken off the plan at the end of the corresponding Cardinal Care coverage period; December 31 for Autumn graduates and April 30 for Winter graduates.

To initiate a request, you must complete the  Petition for Early Cancellation of Cardinal Care Health Insurance form and submit it to Vaden’s Insurance and Referral Office by the applicable deadline; December 15 for Autumn graduates and April 15 for Winter graduates.

Students who graduate at the end of spring do not have the option to leave the plan and coverage remains in effect through August 31.  Cardinal Care is a full year plan—students who enter Stanford in autumn and who do not opt out of Cardinal Care by September 15 are charged for the entire year and covered for the entire year (September 1 through August 31). Students who enter Stanford in other quarters and who do not opt out of Cardinal Care by the applicable deadline are charged for the remainder of the year and covered for the remainder of the year (through August 31).

For more information, please contact Vaden Health Center's Insurance Office at 650-723-2135 or submit a ServiceNow Ticket.

Cardinal Care Coverage and Leaves of Absence

If you are covered by Cardinal Care and contemplate taking a leave of absence at any point in your academic career, be sure to contact Vaden’s Insurance and Referral Office for guidance about coverage, in advance, if possible. As you’ll see below, timing can be a driver as to whether coverage will be preserved.

A student who is granted a Leave of Absence in Autumn for which the effective date of the leave is prior to the first day of class will not be charged tuition or any associated fees for the quarter. Upon reversal of the tuition, the student’s eligibility for enrollment in Cardinal Care will be cancelled retroactive to September 1. (The student’s eligibility for enrollment in Cardinal Care will resume when they return and tuition is reinstated.)

A student who is granted a Leave of Absence in Autumn for which the effective date of the leave is on or after the first day of class but before the term withdrawal deadline will be charged (prorated) tuition and associated fees for the quarter. If enrolled in Cardinal Care, the student will remain enrolled through the end of the plan year (August 31) and applicable fees will apply.  

A student who is enrolled in Cardinal Care as of Autumn Quarter, and who is granted a Leave of Absence for a subsequent quarter (i.e., Winter, Spring, or Summer) will remain enrolled in and covered by Cardinal Care through the end of the plan year (August 31) and applicable fees will apply.

A student whose initial quarter of entry is Winter or Spring, and who is subsequently granted a Leave of Absence for the entry quarter, will be subject to the same guiding principles as a student who enters in Autumn, i.e., if the effective date of the leave is prior to the first day of class, tuition and any associated fees for the quarter will be reversed. Upon reversal of the tuition, the student’s eligibility for enrollment in Cardinal Care will be cancelled retroactive to the start of the applicable coverage period (December 1 for Winter Quarter entry students and April 1 for Spring Quarter entry students). If the effective date of the leave is on or after the first day of class but before the respective term withdrawal deadline, the student will be charged (prorated) tuition and associated fees for the quarter. If enrolled in Cardinal Care, the student will remain enrolled through the end of the plan year (August 31) and applicable fees will apply.  

For more information, please contact Vaden Health Center's Insurance Office at 650-723-2135 or submit a ServiceNow Ticket.

Impact of Health Care Reform

A provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010 specifies that students may remain eligible for coverage under a parent’s employer-based health insurance plan until age 26. If you have questions, please contact the Vaden Health Center's Insurance Office at 650-723-2135 or submit a ServiceNow Ticket.