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Insurance vs. Campus Health Service Fee

The Campus Health Service Fee ('Health Fee') is a mandatory fee for all students on the Stanford campus. The fee allows students to have care at Vaden Health Center. Concurrently, all students must also have adequate health insurance for medical needs that are not provided at Vaden or are not covered under the Health Fee.

We recognize it may sometimes be confusing to decipher which resource for care should be used—services at Vaden under the Health Service Fee or services available through health insurance. For students who are assessed the Health Fee, it makes the most sense for Vaden to be the first stop for primary care medical visits, counseling and psychological services, health and wellness programs, and other services covered under the fee.

Students who have insurance coverage through Cardinal Care will want to coordinate specialty care through Vaden to realize maximum (i.e., Tier 1) benefits at Stanford University Medical Center or Menlo Medical Clinic. Students with private insurance should seek insurance-covered care according to the terms of the plan. The chart below helps to describe the relationships of these resources:


The following services are available at Vaden and are covered under the Health Fee:

The following services are available at Vaden but are not covered under the Health Fee (many are covered by insurance):

Cardinal Care / private health insurance plans generally cover:

Primary Care medical services including:

  • Medical appointments during weekday hours
  • Urgently needed care during weekend and evening hours
  • 24-hour telephone medical advice for urgent conditions
  • Confidential web-based messaging to a student’s clinician
  • Web-based booking of weekday appointments

Many of the following services are covered by health insurance:

  • Pharmacy prescriptions and other medications
  • Physical Therapy treatment
  • Travel Clinic visits and travel-related vaccinations
  • Allergy, Immunization, and Injection Clinic services
  • Immunizations/tests to meet Stanford's entrance Health Requirements
  • Physical exams for employment, special programs, or other purposes
  • Medical specialty care (e.g., Dermatology)
  • Specialty care
  • Outpatient care
  • Inpatient care/hospitalization
  • Emergency care
  • Medical care while away from campus (e.g., during travel)
  • Prescriptions


Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) including:

  • Psychological evaluation and short-term therapy
  • Initial psychiatric medication evaluation
  • 24-hour crisis services

Counseling and Psychological Services including:

  • Long-term therapy
  • Psychiatric medication management

Other mental health services and substance abuse care, including:

  • Inpatient treatment in a hospital or residential facility

Health and Wellness programs including:

  • Nutrition counseling and education
  • Sexual health and relationship consultation and education
  • Peer health education programs and services


Some services that are covered by insurance, such as pharmacy, physical therapy, and preventive immunizations, are offered on site at Vaden Health Center for your convenience.  Others are available at Stanford University Medical Center or through other contracted providers in the local community and nationally.

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.


2021-2022 Student Health Matters