Cardinal Care is Stanford’s student health insurance plan. It is detailed in pages 18-28 of the “Student Health Matters” PDF, linked below. We recommend you give the PDF a read, but summarize some salient points here.

Waiving Coverage: Because Stanford requires that all students have adequate health insurance coverage, you are automatically enrolled in Cardinal Care at the beginning of each academic year. If you have insurance from another provider, e.g. through your parents’ plan, you may wish to waive Cardinal Care. (For those on their parents’ insurance, you are able to opt-in to Cardinal Care at the beginning of the quarter that you turn 26 as this qualifies as a “life event”. Go to Vaden for help with this, and if you are on a fellowship when this occurs, let ChemE Student Services know as soon as possible.) Before you waive Cardinal Care, we recommend you check the extent of coverage in the Bay Area and around Stanford: some plans have great coverage across the country, while others may not provide sufficient coverage outside your current area. But if you decide to waive Cardinal Care coverage, you can still visit Vaden, the on-campus health service center (provided that you have other insurance) for your basic medical needs (e.g. you catch bronchitis). To waive Cardinal Care, do the following before the deadline (September 15, 2018 for the 2018-19 academic year): go to Axess, hover over the “Student” tab, and click “Health Insurance Waiver.”

Tiers of Coverage (pp 19, 22-23): Depending on where you receive care, Cardinal Care will cover you differently. They’ve grouped classes of coverage into two tiers; the first covers care from the Stanford University Medical Center and is more generous, whereas the second covers select providers off-campus. You’re eligible for both by enrolling in Cardinal Care: you don’t have to use exclusively one or the other.

Dental (pp. 25-27): Cardinal Care provides dental coverage through Delta Dental. The plan provides some coverage for all dentists, but it is most generous for dentists in the Delta Dental PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) Network. You can find such dentists at

Vision: “Cardinal Care covers one annual eye examination. Cardinal care enrollees can schedule this exam directly with a Health Net PPO provider and pay only a $35 copay. See a list of Health Net PPO providers within three miles of campus [here].” – Student Health Matters, pp. 36.


Student Health Matters: