Health insurance is vital to your well-being and your wallet, but comparing health insurance companies isn’t straightforward.
What Is Health Insurance?
Health insurance is a contract that requires an insurer to pay some or all of a person’s medical expenses in exchange for a monthly premium.
We evaluated large, small and regional health insurance providers to find the best health insurance companies across the country. See our top picks below.
1. Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is a nonprofit organization that combines health insurance and the delivery of health services through integrated care so members get a “coordinated experience.” In addition to hospitals operated by Kaiser, its network includes doctors, pharmacies, labs, imaging and other services. This integrated approach has resulted in a very low level of complaints from members.
Kaiser Permanente is available in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, Washington and Washington, D.C.
Kaiser’s Thrive Local is a referral system that connects members to non-medical and socioeconomic services they may need, such as services for a disability.
2. Blue Cross Blue Shield
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) is made up of 34 independent and locally operated health insurance companies. Members of certain BCBS plans can join Blue365 for free health and wellness discounts. There are discounts for fitness products, such as Fitbit, hearing and vision, such as Target Optical, and meal boxes from Freshly.
Members also get access to doctors and hospitals in more than 200 countries through Blue Cross Blue Shield Global Core.
Analysis of all Blue Cross Blue Shield plans found that member complaints are generally very low. Notable exceptions to this are in California, where Blue Shield of California has a complaint level that’s more than four times the industry average. Also, Anthem Blue Cross in California has twice as many complaints as the industry average.
And Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire garners almost five times the average number of complaints.
But for the most part, BCBS health insurance plans around the country deliver customer happiness and a large provider network.
UnitedHealthcare, the biggest health insurer in the country with over 26 million members, offers insurance coverage in nearly every state. That includes plans in 18 states through the Affordable Care Act marketplace: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Beyond ACA marketplace plans, UnitedHealthcare also offers coverage through employer-based plans, Medicare, Medicaid, short-term health insurance and supplemental insurance, including critical illness insurance.
Some UnitedHealthcare plans offer additional benefits, including $0 primary care physician visits and copays, unlimited virtual visits, adult vision and dental and prescription drug delivery.