Vaden announces change in Cardinal Care requirement for international students

Stanford international students will have the opportunity to request an annual exception to a new policy requiring them to purchase the university's Cardinal Care healthcare insurance.

The new exception policy will allow international students to show that their insurance plan meets specific criteria and is adequate by U.S. standards, according to Dr. Ira Friedman, director of Vaden Health Center. Students and their insurance companies will have to document, for instance, such minimum standards as an annual deductible less than $1,000, a prescription benefit and inpatient and outpatient mental health services.

The exception policy comes on the heels of student concerns voiced after the new Cardinal Care requirement was announced in February. Under that policy, all international students will be required to purchase Cardinal Care beginning in September in order to eliminate difficulties many students with inadequate insurance had encountered in the past.

"Originally we had envisioned a policy with very few exceptions, but it became clear that a case-by-case exception process – although more expensive to run – is the best option," Friedman said.

Friedman said he had received a lot of student feedback and met with student leaders to get input on the exception process.

In the past, Friedman said, international students often have found their mental health hospitalization and outpatient treatment coverage to be inadequate, or they have lacked adequate coverage for expenses due to catastrophic illness or accidents.

For more information about the exception process, visit the Vaden Health Center website. The deadline for seeking an exception is Sept. 1.