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Health and Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

Where should I go for urgent care if the Vaden Health Center is closed?

Vaden recommends that you visit Palo Alto Medical Foundation's (PAMF) Urgent Care Center for urgent medical conditions that are not emergencies but require treatment within 24 hours.

For hours and current estimated wait time, visit PAMF Wait Time in Urgent Care.

Additionally, the Stanford University Medical Center Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day.

Visits to the PAMF Urgent Care Center and the Stanford University Medical Center Emergency Department will be billed to your insurance provider, so you may be responsible for some of the cost. For students with the Cardinal Care student health plan, there is a $50 copay for Stanford Emergency Department visits and a $20 copay for PAMF Urgent Care Center visits. You must produce a copy of your insurance card for this provider to receive medical services. Insurance cards are available on the Cardinal Care Health Net website.

There is also a Vaden physician on call from home after hours for URGENT advice that cannot wait until Vaden is open.

Call (650) 617-2576 after hours and they will page the physician on call.

What constitutes an urgent condition versus a routine problem?

For an explanation of what is a routine problem versus an urgent condition and where to go to get help for each, see Getting Immediate Help on the Vaden website.

What if I am not sure if I should go to the Emergency Department?

Call the Vaden Medical Services Advice Nurse or the On-call Physician at (650) 498-2336, extension 1.

To learn what to do for medical emergencies and for examples of what constitutes a medical emergency, visit Getting Immediate Help.

What happens to my Cardinal Care health insurance if I graduate in the Spring quarter? What about Autumn or Winter quarter?

If you graduate during the Spring quarter, your health insurance will continue through the end of the Summer quarter at no additional cost to you. Since the plan is annual, summer coverage is included. Your coverage will end on August 31.

Students who graduate in the Autumn or Winter quarter have a choice to keep or cancel their coverage.

  • If you plan to graduate in either Autumn or Winter quarters, you may choose to cancel your Cardinal Care coverage upon graduation (by December 31 for Autumn graduates or by April 30 for Winter graduates). You must contact Vaden to cancel your coverage. If you do not contact Vaden to request early exit from the plan upon graduation, you will remain in the plan for the remainder of the academic year (through August 31) and will be billed the full cost of the plan for the quarters that you chose to keep coverage after you graduate. Associated charges of $1560 for Winter and $1560 for Spring/Summer will apply.
  • If you do not want to keep and pay for your Cardinal Care coverage, then you MUST contact Vaden's Insurance Office at (650) 723-2135 to discontinue your coverage, or you will be billed for the full cost of the plan for the remainder of the academic year.

For more information, visit Insurance or review the Health Insurance FAQ on the Vaden website.

Do I have to do anything if I already have my own health insurance and do not want Cardinal Care?

YES, if you already have health insurance, you MUST decline the Cardinal Care health insurance EVERY YEAR or you will be automatically and irrevocably enrolled in Cardinal Care for the ENTIRE YEAR. For students entering Stanford in Autumn, the deadline to waive Cardinal Care is September 15.

You can waive Cardinal Care health insurance in Axess. AXESS waiver screens are typically opened on August 1 to enable students to waive coverage for the upcoming academic year.

For more information, visit Using Your Own Health Insurance.

What is the Campus Health Service Fee? Do I have to pay it?

The Campus Health Service Fee is assessed to cover the on-campus services available to students through Vaden Health Center. This fee is mandatory for all graduate students enrolled on the Stanford campus with few exceptions.

For the 2014-2015 academic year, the Campus Health Service Fee will be $191 per quarter.

Yes, you have to pay the Campus Health Service Fee. The funds to cover the Campus Health Service Fee are included in your stipend, which means that you have to pay the fee yourself "out of pocket." This fee will appear on your university bill at the beginning of each quarter in which you are registered.

For more information, visit the Campus Health Service Fee page.

Who can I contact with questions about my health insurance coverage?

You can call the toll-free number on the back of your insurance card – Health Net of California at (800) 250-5226. There are also several ways to request health insurance information from Vaden:

  • Call the Vaden Insurance Office at (650) 723-2135.
  • Stop by the Vaden Insurance Office on the first floor of the Vaden Health Center or make an appointment.
  • Submit a HelpSU ticket.

I have the Cardinal Care graduate student health insurance plan. What are my mental health benefits?

Your first source for mental health care should be Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at the Vaden Health Center. CAPS offers services such as mental health evaluation, individual counseling, and medication evaluation and management.

Mental health care benefits under Cardinal Care are administered through Managed Health Network, Inc. (MHN). The greatest benefits (and lowest costs) occur when you get care at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), although you are permitted to seek care elsewhere under certain circumstances and when you fulfill certain prerequisites (see the next question).

For details about your mental health benefits, please visit the Cardinal Care Health Net/MHN website or contact Vaden's Insurance Office at (650) 723-2135.

What if I want to see a mental health provider outside of CAPS?

For students with Cardinal Care, mental health benefits are administered by Managed Health Network, Inc. (MHN), which has a local, national, and international network of mental health clinicians. In addition to covering many services at CAPS, MHN also covers care from providers outside of CAPS.

To see a mental health care provider outside of CAPS, you MUST obtain a referral either through CAPS or through MHN (except in certain emergencies).

The MHN Referral Line, (800) 327-0307, is a 24-hour, 7-day a week toll-free telephone referral line. You can also visit the Cardinal Care Health Net website to search for a provider, but you STILL MUST CALL the Clinical Referral Line to get your referral.

Also, keep in mind that you will be responsible for a $20 copay per visit.

How do I enroll in dental insurance?

We are very pleased to be able to offer, for the first time (2015-2016(, dental coverage as part of the Cardinal Care package of benefits. Diagnostic and preventive care and "basic" restorative services, up to $1,000.00 per year, will be offered through Delta Dental PPO providers. Please see the website for more information: Vaden Cardinal Care

For questions about Cardinal Care, please email

There are also several other dental plans available. You can find information about these dental options (including premiums and how to enroll) in a dental resource packet offered through Vaden. To obtain a packet, stop by the Vaden Insurance Office on the first floor of the Vaden Health Center or submit your name and mailing address in a HelpSU ticket and the packet will be mailed to you.

The Vaden Insurance Office maintains a list of local dentists who have agreed to treat Stanford students at a discount. The discounts are not associated with dental insurance.

How do I get reimbursed for the cost of dental insurance outside of Cardinal Care?

Dental insurance reimbursement policies vary by Home Program; please contact your student services administrator for details. In most Home Programs you pay the dental insurance premium out of pocket and then you contact your student services administrator for reimbursement.

Dental Coverage is now part of the Cardinal Care package of benefits.

Does the graduate student health insurance plan, Cardinal Care, include any vision coverage?

Cardinal Care covers one annual eye examination, but you MUST first contact the Insurance Office at Vaden to get a referral for your eye exam at the Stanford Eye Clinic. Call (650) 498-2336, extension 4 for the Health Insurance Office.

Cardinal Care does not cover the cost of glasses or contacts. However, Vaden has a list of local opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists that extend discounts to Stanford students.

What is Stanford's policy about taking a voluntary leave of absence?

Graduate students can request a leave of absence for up to one year, or four quarters, and a one-time extension of this leave may be granted under certain circumstances. During a leave of absence, the student will not be registered and will not receive any financial support from the department. You must file for a leave of absence and gain approval prior to the start of your leave.

For more information, visit the Leaves of Absence section of the Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures handbook for voluntary leave of absence policies and implementation guidelines. Click here for the Leave of Absence Form.

Please be aware that there are deadlines to file for a leave of absence in each quarter. Deadlines are listed on the Stanford academic calendar.

What happens to my Cardinal Care health insurance during a leave of absence?

If you are enrolled in Cardinal Care health insurance and you take a leave of absence after the first day of class in any given quarter, you will remain enrolled in Cardinal Care for the rest of the academic year. Please note that if you take a leave of absence PRIOR to the start of Autumn quarter, you will not be eligible to enroll in Cardinal Care until you return from the leave.

Leaving the University describes the effect a leave of absence has on your health insurance.

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