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The best health insurance company for you will depend on your own health situation and budget. But it's not always about the price tag. Some health insurers offer cheap coverage but offer less-than-stellar customer service or come with a limited provider network.
To help you shop for the best deal, we looked through premium costs, customer service, provider networks and the financial strength of the top health insurance companies. Here's what we found.
What are the top 4 health insurance companies?
ValuePenguin evaluated more than 20 of the largest health insurance companies in the industry on three mains factors:
- A.M. Best's Financial Strength Rating: Based on the company's ability to meet its obligations, this score analyzes a company's financial health.
- NAIC Complaint Index: The National Association of Insurance Commissioners' Complaint Index counts the number of complaints a company receives, measures that number against its size and compares it to similar companies nationwide. A Complaint Index under 1.00 indicates the company receives fewer complaints than expected for its size.
- Pricing: ValuePenguin received quotes for a sample policyholder who is 40 years old.
Best overall health insurance: UnitedHealthcare
- A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A+
- NAIC Complaint Index 0.00
- Unique value: UHC offers high-quality service with an average size provider network.
UnitedHealthcare (UHC) policies are more expensive than average; however, plans often come with added benefits and access to wellness programs. Additionally, many customers rate this insurer highly because of its supportive customer service department and user-friendly smartphone app. UHC is the largest health insurance company by total policyholders and offers health, dental, vision and disability coverage.
Best health insurance provider network: Blue Cross Blue Shield
- A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A+
- NAIC Complaint Index 0.20
- Unique value: BCBS and its many subsidiaries have the most expansive network available.
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) and its subsidiaries are unique in that they offer individual health insurance policies with access to health maintenance organizations (HMOs), exclusive provider organizations (EPOs) and preferred provider organizations (PPOs). BCBS is also available in every state. However, many customers have complained about the product servicing and coverage denials.
Best online health insurance: Oscar
- A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A-
- NAIC Complaint Index 0.12
- Unique value: Oscar offers doctor on-call services and policy tracking technology.
Oscar is a health insurance startup that offers both individual and business policies. Although the company charges above-average prices, it outshines the competition on customer service and extra member benefits. For example, it offers a dedicated concierge service with 24/7 access to health professionals.
The main downside to Oscar is that it is extremely limited by the states that it offers its individual and small business health insurance policies. This is due to the fact that Oscar is only a startup and plans on continuing to expand their health insurance footprint in the years to come.
Best Medicare Advantage plans: Kaiser Permanente
- A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A
- NAIC Complaint Index 0.33
- Unique value: Kaiser Permanente offers Medicare Advantage options.
Kaiser Permanente offers individual health insurance options in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington state, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. But the company is best-known for its breadth of Medicare Advantage policies. Additionally, the company has received the top ranking in J.D. Power's Medicare Advantage customer satisfaction survey in 2019, meaning the company values its customers.
Health insurance company ratings
Several rating agencies have evaluated health insurance companies based on various factors including financial strength, customer reviews and policyholder complaints. These metrics can help you find the best companies. The most common third-party ratings for insurance companies include:
- J.D. Power: J.D. Power is a global marketing information services company that ranks some of the best insurance companies on customer satisfaction. Its rankings give each insurer a number between 0 and 1,000 and use rating factors such as price, customer satisfaction, policy offerings and interaction.
- A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A.M. 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.
- Better Business Bureau (BBB): The BBB rating system is a grade given to a company between A+ and F, which is determined by its complaint history and how responsive the company is to complaints.
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 deciding which health insurance company to choose, you should evaluate the policy costs, company features, customer reviews and provider network.
Policy costs, details and company benefits
The most important factor to consider is whether the insurer offers affordable policies that fit your medical needs.
The price of a health insurance policy can vary widely with each health insurer. This is typically because some providers offer additional benefits with their policies, such as online member portals or gym memberships.
Additionally, some policies have a wider provider network. This means your health insurance would be accepted by more doctors and medical facilities. However, policies with a bigger network typically come with higher monthly premiums.
Finally, besides the monthly premium, you should carefully look over the deductibles and copays or coinsurance before choosing a policy. These values can vary greatly from policy to policy but also by insurer. 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 what other customers think about the company. By collecting metrics like the NAIC Complaint Index and J.D. Power's customer satisfaction scores, you will better understand how that health insurance company values its policyholders.
Additionally, you should check reviews about the claims process and the ease at which consumers can get their claims filled. Some companies tend to have cheaper health insurance but will lag significantly behind in terms of servicing their customers. This is important to consider, as claims processing will be integral to your overall customer experience with the health insurance company.