Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Open Enrollment Frequently Asked Questions

Main content start
How do I choose the right medical plan?

Choosing a medical plan is an important decision. The election you make during Open Enrollment will be effective January 1 – December 31, 2022. You will not be able to make changes, unless you have a qualifying life event, such as marriage or the birth or adoption of a child. To help you make the right choice, we are providing valuable tools during Open Enrollment:

  • The Open Enrollment Guidebook provides an overview of your benefits and describes the changes to your benefits for 2022.
  • The Medical Plan Comparison tool on Cardinal at Work shows the features of each plan in relation to cost, access to care, and tax savings opportunities.
  • The new Pilot decision tool gives you personalized recommendations based on how you prefer to access care and how often. Pilot is available starting October 25 and can be accessed on the My Benefits portal, You need to click your Open Enrollment event, confirm your and your family members' information, and then select "Get Our Help" to access Pilot.
What are some things I can do to help save on health care costs?

Some actions you can take to help defray costs are: 

  • If you choose the Healthcare + Savings HDHP, stay "in network" and elect a health savings account (HSA): In this plan, you have more choice in providers, but you'll generally save more when you stay in the network. And remember, the HSA will help you pay for health care costs and can be funded with your before-tax dollars. When you elect the HSA, Stanford also contributes money to help you pay for your medical care.

  • Concierge Support for HDHP members: Starting in 2022, those who enroll in the Healthcare + Savings HDHP or ACA Basic HDHP will have access to a concierge service through Included Health (formerly known as Grand Rounds) that helps you navigate your health insurance, resolve claims, get a second opinion, find great doctors, and more. Your Included Health personal care team will provide free, unbiased support 24/7 to help you make good healthcare decisions throughout the year.

  • Preventive care: To stay on the healthy track, be sure to take advantage of preventive care, such as annual exams or “well baby” checkups. Preventive care is free under all of the plans as long as you stay in network. 
  • Elect a health care flexible spending account (FSA) during Open Enrollment: The health care FSA lets you set aside money for out-of-pocket health care expenses such as deductibles, copays, prescriptions, eyeglasses, etc., before taxes are calculated on your salary, and you are reimbursed tax-free. 
  • Pre-authorization: Inpatient hospitalization and many outpatient procedures can be costly. For all procedures scheduled in advance, please work with your provider and medical plan carrier to obtain pre-authorization approval and understand in advance how much of the cost you will be responsible to pay. With the exception of emergencies, most inpatient and outpatient procedures are not covered by your health plan without prior authorization, and you would be responsible for the entire cost of the services received.

Note: If you have an HSA, you cannot also have a health care FSA.

When will I get my new medical ID card?

Medical carriers are now required to include plan deductibles and out-of-pocket maximum limits on ID cards. Beginning January 1, 2022, you may access a digital copy of your ID card in your member portal. If you enroll in a new plan, you will receive an ID card in the mail by January 1, 2022. If you need access to your card information, review How to Find Your Health Plan ID Card Online.

How do I learn more about BeWell, Stanford's Wellness Program?

Participating in BeWell is a great way to earn incentives while staying healthy. Visit the BeWell website for program details.

Where can I find help?

The Cardinal at Work website aims to provide as many answers as possible to your benefits-related questions. Because of the personal nature of benefits, it may not speak to every situation. Below are some common questions and tasks, and how you should direct them.

When to call the plan provider

  • To find out if your doctor or dentist is in your medical or dental plan’s network
  • If you have a claim dispute or question
  • To verify what procedures are covered under your plan and obtain prior authorization
  • You can’t find your member ID for your health plan
  • To verify if a prescription drug is on your plan’s covered list  
  • To find urgent care centers  
  • If you are seeing a mental health professional or chiropractor for the first time and you want to verify costs/coverage
  • Questions about your FSA balance or eligible expenses

View the contact list for plan providers

Note: The University HR Service Team will not be able to help you with the above requests.

Who do I call during Open Enrollment for support?

If you have questions, call the University HR Service team at 877-905-2985 or 650-736-2985, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on holidays. You will be able to choose to connect to the support you need from the prompts.

To connect with Grand Rounds Health, press “1” and you will speak to an expert who can help you make the right health plan decisions. Grand Rounds Health offers support 24/7 during Open Enrollment.

To connect with the University HR Service Team, press “4.” The University HR Service Team can assist you with making your 2022 elections or with your employee or retiree benefits including:

  • If you are a new hire and need plan services before you receive your plan ID card, your doctor’s office or pharmacy may call to verify coverage  
  • If you need help enrolling for benefits during an enrollment window
  • If you have a question about a payroll deduction related to your benefits
  • If you are unsure if a dependent is covered under your plan
  • You plan to retire in the next three to six months