Health Insurance

4 Best Health Insurance Companies for 2021

4 Best Health Insurance Companies for 2021

Compare the best health insurance companies and options so you can find the right plan for your situation.

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The best health insurance company for you will depend on your 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 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.

Best overall health insurance: UnitedHealthcare

Variety of products available including dental, vision and health, but availability in some states may be limited.
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Insurer details

  • 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 will typically be more expensive than average when compared to other provider plans. 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 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

Anthem offers wide coverage that has the ability to be used in multiple states.
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Insurer details

  • 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 because 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, which means there’s a variety of provider networks to choose from.

On the other hand, many customers have complained about the product servicing and coverage denials. Customers have reported long wait times when processing claims as well as trying to contact customer service.

Best online health insurance: Oscar

Policies available in a limited number of counties and have slightly higher prices compared to competitors.
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Insurer details

  • A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A-
  • NAIC Complaint Index 0.12
  • Unique value: Oscar offers on-call services for doctors and policy tracking technology.

Oscar is a health insurance startup that offers both individual and business policies. While the company charges above-average prices, it outshines the competition on customer service and extra member benefits. For example, their telemedicine program offers a dedicated concierge service with 24/7 access to health professionals, including nurses and doctors that are part of the Oscar network.

The main downside to Oscar is that its individual and small business health insurance policies are only offered in 15 states. However, the startup is in the process of adding availability in the near future.

Best Medicare Advantage plans: Kaiser Permanente

Variety of health insruance options but a specialization in Medicare Advantage policies.
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Insurer details

  • 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 Medicare Advantage policies, which are available across the nation.

Additionally, the company has received the top ranking in J.D. Power's Medicare Advantage customer satisfaction survey in 2020, which shows that the company values not only its customers but also providing excellent service.

Health insurance company 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 policyholder complaints. You can use these metrics to evaluate providers and choose the best insurance company for you. 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 choosing a health insurance company, 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 needs.

The price of a health insurance policy can vary widely by 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, 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 premium, you should carefully review the deductibles and copays or coinsurance before choosing a policy. These values can vary greatly not only by policy but also by insurer. By selecting the plan with a deductible and coinsurance that fit your needs, you can save yourself money.

Customer reviews

When evaluating insurers, you should also consider how other customers view the company. By collecting metrics like the NAIC Complaint Index and J.D. Power's customer satisfaction scores, you can better understand how that health insurance company values its policyholders.

Additionally, you should check reviews about the claims process and the ease in which consumers can get their claims filled. Some companies tend to have cheaper health insurance but will lag significantly in customer service. This is important to consider, as claims processing will be integral to your overall customer experience with the health insurance company.

Methodology

ValuePenguin evaluated more than 20 of the largest health insurance companies on three main 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.
Sterling Price

Sterling Price is a research analyst at ValuePenguin specializing in health and life insurance. He graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelors degree in Finance and Accounting and has previous experience as a licensed life insurance representative.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.