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Stanford University Insurance Requirements

Stanford University’s Health Care Resources

While at Stanford, your health care resources include:

  • Care through Vaden Health Center under the Campus Health Service Fee ('Health Fee'): As a registered student, you have access to Vaden Health Center services during your academic career at Stanford.  Vaden offers primary care, counseling and psychological care, and well-being services as part of the Health Fee assessment..
  • Care available through health insurance: You will need health insurance when using health care services that are not covered by the Campus Health Service Fee. Examples of services that require health insurance include care that’s been referred to a specialist, inpatient care, emergency care, and care provided while away from campus (such as when traveling either within the U.S. or internationally).

Insurance Requirement for Students at Stanford University

Students have diverse, individual needs, but the student community has a great deal in common, too. One need shared by all is the need for protection against unanticipated or excessive health care expenses. Accordingly, Stanford requires that all students have adequate health insurance coverage.

To help students meet this requirement, Stanford University offers Cardinal Care, a comprehensive health insurance plan that covers a wide range of services. Stanford automatically enrolls its students in Cardinal Care at the start of each academic year (or quarter of entry).

Domestic students with alternative health insurance may waive enrollment in Cardinal Care in Axess. The waiver must occur by the applicable deadline (see deadline section). Students may waive out by documenting adequate coverage from another health insurance carrier in Axess.

International students with alternative health insurance may request an exception to enrollment in Cardinal Care if the alternative insurance plan has benefits that meet or exceed minimum standards set by the university. The request must occur by the applicable deadline (see deadline section).. Find more details about the minimum standards and how to apply for the exception.

Additional Note for J-1 and J-2 Students

Cardinal Care (Stanford’s student health insurance plan) provides emergency travel assistance services, administered by ISOS. Unlimited medical evacuation and repatriation coverage are included among its benefits.


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