Quality ratings tell you about customer satisfaction and how well the company handles customer issues, while plan tier determines the level of medical benefits.
Choosing a high-quality health insurance plan for both support and coverage can help you avoid frustrations when using your medical benefits or getting claims paid.
Health insurance company ratings
Kaiser Permanente is the top-rated health insurance company in the U.S., according to available state data from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). Good insurance companies include Blue Cross Blue Shield, UnitedHealthcare, Humana, Aetna and Cigna. The worst-rated health insurance companies are Oscar and Molina.
Overall, these performance ratings can give you a big-picture snapshot of which health insurance companies are the best, which are in the middle of the pack and which you should avoid.
Best health insurance companies
|Blue Cross Blue Shield||$607|
|Aetna (CVS Health)||$450|
Average monthly cost for a 40-year-old buying a Silver health insurance plan.
Find Cheap Health Insurance Policies in Your Area
Because company performance can vary by state, we recommend that those shopping for insurance on HealthCare.gov also compare the star ratings of individual plans offered in their location. This will give you the best indication of which plans will give you a good experience.
Note that Humana does not sell individual health insurance plans and only provides health insurance through employer or group plans. This means that you may be able to get a Humana plan through your job, but plans are not available on the health insurance marketplace or directly from Humana.
Find the best health insurance in your state
Best overall health insurance: Kaiser Permanente
Monthly rate$454 ?
Why it's great
- Kaiser Permanente's consistently high ratings mean you're likely to be satisfied with your health insurance, making it a good choice if plans are available in your area.
- Access to Kaiser's medical centers and doctors.
Kaiser Permanente offers top-rated individual health insurance options in eight states — California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia and Washington — and Washington, D.C.
The company stands out for its good customer service and streamlined access to high-quality medical care. Kaiser Permanente consistently ranks as having the most satisfied customers.
Kaiser health insurance is paired with Kaiser's medical facilities, which can make it easier to manage both your insurance and health services through the same online portal. The downside is that enrollees have a limited provider network. Rather than having access to a wide range of doctors, the plans typically only provide coverage when you go to a Kaiser facility (except during emergencies).
If having access to a wide selection of doctors is important to you, consider Blue Cross Blue Shield, which has the largest network of medical providers in the county.
Popular insurance company: Blue Cross Blue Shield
Monthly rate$607 ?
Why it's great
- Blue Cross Blue Shield stands out for its well-rated plans, large network of providers and wide availability in all 50 states.
- BCBS has the largest network of doctors available.
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) has high-quality health insurance and is rated slightly ahead of other major competitors such as UnitedHealthcare and Humana. It also is the most popular health insurance company in the country.
BCBS offers a wide range of plan options and types including HMOs (health maintenance organizations), EPOs (exclusive provider organizations) and PPOs (preferred provider organizations). These choices can help you get the best type of coverage to meet your needs.
The company is also good if you want flexibility with where you get your medical care. The BCBS network includes 90% of the country's doctors and hospitals. Even though the exact network of each plan varies, you'll likely have a wide selection of doctors that are covered.
However, the plans are typically more expensive than similar coverage from other providers, making Blue Cross not a good choice for those on a tight budget.
Best health insurance for the self-employed: UnitedHealthcare
Monthly rate$546 ?
Why it's great
- UnitedHealthcare offers a variety of insurance options including health, dental and vision, but availability in some states may be limited.
- Digital tools to improve your health care experience.
UnitedHealthcare (UHC) offers good-quality health insurance plans, and the company stands out for its comprehensive care, including several add-on benefits and a robust app. For those who are self-employed, this can be a valuable way to streamline coverage, save time and reduce hassle.
Many UHC plans include benefits such as free primary care, low-cost prescriptions and access to wellness programs. And you can add on coverage for dental, vision and disability. Plus, the UHC mobile app lets you have telehealth appointments, estimate procedure costs, compare doctors and manage your plan, making it easier to get the most out of your policy.
However, there are some downsides. UHC health insurance policies can be more expensive than average, and interacting with the company can be frustrating, according to comments on the Better Business Bureau.
Best health insurance for young adults: Aetna
Monthly rate$450 ?
Why it's great
- Aetna's cheaper plans are best for those who would prefer a lower-priced plan that has average quality.
- Cheap rates and rewards program.
Aetna's plans have average ratings and lower monthly costs than other providers. This makes Aetna a good deal for those who are young and healthy.
Plus, many plans let you earn rewards or gift cards for healthy activities when you use the Attain by Aetna app on an Apple Watch or Fitbit, helping you save even more.
Plans also provide free or low-cost access to CVS minute clinics, which are located inside CVS or Target retail locations. This can make it easy for you to access in-network care across multiple locations such as a hometown, college town or internship location.
However, these plans may not be a good choice for those who have ongoing medical conditions or who need major or expensive health procedures. In these cases, you may be more satisfied with a higher-rated company like Kaiser Permanente, Blue Cross Blue Shield or UnitedHealthcare, which have better customer satisfaction and fewer complaints.
Worst health insurance companies
The worst health insurance companies of 2023 are Molina, Oscar, CareSource and Ambetter.
This is based on the companies' low average ratings on HealthCare.gov.
You should also avoid getting health insurance from Friday Health and Bright Health, which are shutting down their health insurance programs.
Molina's health insurance plans are poor quality in most states, with an average rating of 2.4 out of five stars on HealthCare.gov. However, not all policies from the company are bad. For example, Molina's Medicaid plans have somewhat better quality, earning three out of five stars on NCQA.
CareSource doesn't have good ratings on HealthCare.gov, with members unhappy with the medical care they receive through the plan. Plus, the company gets twice as many complaints as is typical, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
Ambetter and its partner company, Celtic Insurance, usually have somewhat low ratings on HealthCare.gov. However, depending on where you live, there may be a trade-off between quality and cost. For example, in Illinois, Ambetter is the cheapest option, but it's also the worst health insurance company in the state, with only two stars.
Understanding the data behind health insurance ratings
In the health insurance industry, a variety of rating agencies evaluate health insurance companies every year based on factors that include financial strength, customer reviews and customer complaints. You can use these metrics to evaluate companies and choose the best insurance for you. The most common third-party ratings for insurance companies include:
- NCQA health insurance plan ratings: NCQA's overall performance rankings of 0 to 5 combine measurements of customer satisfaction, clinical measures such as preventive care and quality scoring from the NCQA accreditation process.
- NAIC complaint index: The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) complaint index calculates the rate of company complaints against the size of each insurer. A complaint index under 1.00 means that the company gets fewer complaints than expected for its size.
- AM Best financial strength rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that gives health insurance companies a financial health score. A++ or "superior" is the top grade available. Usually, any company above A- is in an above-average financial situation.
Checking company ratings and customer evaluations can help you understand what the company values and how it stacks up against its competitors. Then, you can get quotes from these companies to decide which one makes sense for your situation.
How to choose the best health insurance company
When choosing a health insurance company, you should evaluate the costs for both the plan and your medical care, as well as customer reviews.
Policy costs, details and company benefits
The most important factor to consider is whether the insurer offers affordable policies that fit your needs.
The price of a health insurance policy can vary widely by insurer. This is typically because some providers offer extra benefits with their policies, such as online member portals or gym memberships.
Some policies have a wider provider network, which means your health insurance would be accepted by more doctors and medical facilities. However, policies with a bigger network or those that offer you the ability to see any doctor that you want will almost always come with higher monthly premiums.
Finally, besides the monthly price you pay, you should carefully review the deductibles and copays or coinsurance before choosing a policy. These can vary greatly not only by insurer but also by policy. By selecting the plan with a deductible and coinsurance that fit your needs, you can save yourself money.
When evaluating insurers, you should also consider the experience of other customers as a way to help predict if you'll have problems with the insurance plan. Through metrics like the NAIC complaint index and J.D. Power's customer satisfaction scores, you can better understand how that health insurance company treats its customers.
You should check reviews about the claims process and the ease with which customers can get their claims filed. Some companies tend to have cheaper health insurance but unreliable customer service. This is important to consider, as claims processing will be integral to your overall customer experience with the health insurance company.
Frequently asked questions
Which health insurance company is the best?
The best overall health insurance company is Kaiser Permanente because its plans are highly rated and have low prices. In addition, Blue Cross Blue Shield is a good health insurance company that offers more flexibility in its coverage and is widely available.
How do I pick the best health insurance plan?
First, choose a well-rated company that’s operating in your area. Then, compare plans to match the level of medical coverage to the amount of medical care you expect to need. A good rule of thumb is that a Bronze plan is a good choice for someone young and healthy. If you expect to need a lot of medical care, a Gold-tier plan could help you save money on health care.
Which health insurance company has the highest customer satisfaction?
Kaiser Permanente is almost always ranked as having the highest customer satisfaction, and it especially stands out for having the best Medicare Advantage plans. However, Kaiser Permanente is only available in eight states and Washington, D.C.
ValuePenguin evaluated more than 20 of the largest health insurance companies across the following rankings:
- NCQA star ratings: Average insurer performance for customer satisfaction and quality of medical care, as calculated for available state ratings of private, commercial health insurers.
- AM Best: Financial health ranking based on the average of each subsidiary's ability to meet its obligations.
- NAIC complaint index: Ratio of complaints calculated as a weighted average of all subsidiaries by total annual premiums.
Additional details about plan performance for the worst health insurance companies, including ratings by member experience, medical care and plan administration, were collected from HealthCare.gov.
The costs of health insurance plans are based on aggregated data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) about private health insurance plans sold on HealthCare.gov. Averages exclude states that use their own health insurance marketplace instead of HealthCare.gov, and costs are for a 40-year-old choosing a Silver health insurance plan.