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Cardinal Care and Health Insurance Subsidy

Cardinal Care is an annual enrollment insurance plan which includes coverage in summer quarter, whether the student is enrolled that quarter or not. The annual cost of this coverage will be charged over three quarters of the academic year, i.e., in Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters.

Students enrolled in Cardinal Care will be covered during leaves of absence, breaks, quarters in which they are not registered (including summers), and immediately following graduation.

The insurance carrier, Health Net of California, will provide the medical benefits and Value Options will administer the mental health benefits.

Enrollment in Cardinal Care is a once-a-year event. In their first registered quarter of each academic year, students will decide whether or not to waive Cardinal Care coverage for that year. International students will be required to enroll in Cardinal Care, but may request an exception if they have an insurance plan with benefits that meet or exceed minimum standards set by the university.

Stanford University will automatically pay a health insurance subsidy that covers part of the Cardinal Care premium for students who fall into one of categories below and who do not waive Cardinal Care coverage online via AXESS.

Health insurance subsidy eligibility and amounts are determined by the criteria below:

Enrolled students with 25% assistantships or more, or with fellowship stipends (non-tuition stipend payments) at or above the minimum salary for a 25% assistantship (CA or RA), will receive a subsidy payment equal to one-half of the premium cost. The student is responsible for paying the other half of the cost. As in the past, two of the smaller subsidies can be combined to total the amount of the larger subsidy.
Enrolled students who do not qualify for the subsidy described above, but who have lower-level assistantships, or fellowship stipends at or above the minimum salary for a 10% assistantship, will receive a payment equal to one-quarter of the premium cost.


Students automatically receive the subsidy when their complete assistantship paperwork is submitted by the established deadlines to the Doctoral Programs Officer. Forms received after the Monday of the third week of classes normally results in the health subsidy being charged to the hiring faculty member or principal investigator's account. The student still receives the subsidy, but it is paid for by a faculty account instead of the University's funds.

A table outlining the Cardinal Care costs and University subsidy can be found here: https://financialaid.stanford.edu/grad/funding/subsidy.html. 

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