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Update on resources available following Supreme Court ruling on abortion

Health plan benefits and other assistance is available to Stanford University employees and students seeking medical care not locally available to them.

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court issued the Dobbs ruling that gave individual states the autonomy to set their own standards for abortion services and access.

In California, comprehensive reproductive health care is available and protected by state law. However, some Stanford employees work remotely from other states, and some Stanford students and postdocs may seek access to care when they are residing in other states during breaks, internships, or at other times.

The following provides information about health plan benefits and other assistance available to Stanford University employees, students, and postdocs seeking medical care in states other than California.


For Stanford University employees living outside of California, our Healthcare + Savings, ACA Basic High Deductible, and Trio by Blue Shield health plans provide enrolled members with coverage for travel to access medical care, including covered abortion services, when there is no in-network provider within 100 miles of their home.

Travel and lodging can be reimbursed through the Healthcare + Savings and ACA Basic High Deductible plans up to an annual limit of $10,000 and through Trio up to an annual limit of $2,000. Contact your plan’s customer service center if you have questions about this benefit or would like to submit a claim.

The Kaiser Permanente and Stanford Health Care Alliance medical plans generally are for employees in California; these plans require employees to reside in the plan’s service area to be eligible for enrollment, and the provider networks do not extend outside of California. These plans will not reimburse travel expenses for members who live outside the plan’s service area unless the plan directs members to receive services that require travel.

Beyond insurance coverage, benefits-eligible university employees who have a financial hardship paying for out-of-pocket health care expenses, including travel and/or abortion services, may apply for a grant through the Employee Emergency Assistance Fund. Applicants must demonstrate financial hardship and verification that the event occurred. Documentation of a medical event can be a basic physician’s note stating, without reference to the specific medical procedure, that necessary care requires travel of at least 100 miles from the applicant’s home address. Please see the Employee Emergency Assistance Fund page on the Cardinal at Work website for more details on program criteria and a link to the application.


Some Stanford University students are covered by their own health insurance, or by a family health insurance plan, and many of these plans provide a travel benefit for out-of-area medical services.

For students who are covered by Cardinal Care, the plan does not have a travel benefit for all clinical situations, but the university may be able to provide financial support for travel by students living in other states. Students who have a financial hardship paying for out-of-pocket health care expenses, including travel and/or abortion services, can contact the Financial Aid Office for support. Graduate and professional students will be asked to submit an Emergency Grant-in-Aid application; undergraduates will be asked to submit the Medical/Dental Expense Form. The information provided to the university does not need to reference the specific medical procedure involved, only that the expense is necessary for the student to continue making academic progress.

For students who are on campus, Vaden Health Services is available to assist and consult with students seeking reproductive health services or who have a planned or unplanned pregnancy. Vaden provides referrals to local health care providers for students who either seek continuing care for a pregnancy or seek an abortion. Additional information is available on the Vaden website. Students who have a financial hardship paying for out-of-pocket health care expenses can contact the Financial Aid Office for support, as described above.

Postdoctoral scholars

Postdoctoral scholars insured through the postdoc medical plan, Stanford Health Care Alliance, and who live outside California can access in-network services through Aetna’s network of providers, with the exclusion of Sutter Health providers. Scholars who must travel more than 100 miles from their residence to access certain in-network covered services may apply for reimbursement of travel and lodging expenses of up to a $5,000 maximum annually. Please note that anyone accessing these services must attest that there were no service providers within 100 miles of their residence. Reimbursement of expenses requires the submission of receipts. The Internal Revenue Service limits lodging reimbursement to $50/day, $100 maximum (member plus companion). Postdocs should contact SHCA Member Care Services at (855) 345-7422 for assistance with the reimbursement process.