Bright HealthCare is a startup insurance company that offers plans in select markets across the country. Plans are usually affordably priced, and some may be the cheapest in the state. The insurer offers a few unique benefits such as telehealth, but as we explain below, the low prices come with a trade-off. In addition to the practical constraints of finding a medical provider within the network, policyholders have made a large volume of complaints, and they report high levels of frustration when dealing with the health insurance company.
Bright HealthCare: Our thoughts
Bright HealthCare insurance is best for those who are willing to save money on health insurance by having access to a smaller network of providers and no out-of-network access.
Plans are usually affordable, and in some states they may be the cheapest plans available. However, the trade-off is that the insurer only works with a limited number of affiliated doctors and health care facilities in each market it serves. Before signing up, it's important to check if there are medical providers in your region that are covered by the insurance company.
Bright HealthCare also has a very high rate of dissatisfied members, which could mean you'll be frustrated when managing your health care. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the rate of complaints for Bright HealthCare is seven times higher than the national average, and on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), customers rated the company 1.44 out of five. Common complaints include poor customer service and denial of claims.
Plan options and costs
Bright HealthCare offers health insurance plans for individuals, families, small businesses and seniors. Policies are available through a state health insurance marketplace, Healthcare.gov and Medicare.gov, or you can purchase insurance directly from the company.
Individual and family health plans
Because the plans are compatible with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), they have the standard features of free preventative care, coverage for pre-existing conditions, and free pediatric dental and vision.
The main difference between Bright larger insurance companies is its narrow network of providers. Bright has what it calls a "carefully curated" network of "Care Partners". This means that rather than trying to provide a broad selection of in-network providers, it strategically selects affiliate providers and facilities in each market. Insurance benefits are limited to these in-network providers, and out-of-network health care services are not covered.
Choosing a plan with a narrow network of providers isn’t a good fit for those who want to have maximum choices about which doctors and facilities to use. Also, if you have special medical conditions, it's important to check the provider list to make sure you'll have easy access to the specialized care you need.
If you prefer a larger network of providers, review the cheapest health insurance companies in each state to see if there's an affordable alternative.
The monthly cost for Bright HealthCare is about 14% cheaper than average for Catastrophic, Expanded Bronze and Silver plans in North Carolina. For Gold plans, Bright insurance plans are 5% cheaper, on average.
Another key aspect of Bright HealthCare is its affordable plans. Not only are there low monthly costs, but some plans also have zero deductible, helping to reduce the total amount you spend on medical care.
For example, a 30-year-old could pay about $452 per month for a Silver plan from Bright HealthCare. That's $71 less than the statewide average of Silver plans of $523. That's also $62 less than Silver plans from Ambetter, another low-cost insurer.
Like most health insurance plans, the monthly cost increases based on age and the number of people covered. For example, an Expanded Bronze plan from Bright has an average cost of $388 for a 40-year-old and $824 for a 60-year-old.
Monthly costs also increase based on coverage level. A 40-year-old could pay about $244 for a Catastrophic plan and $508 for a Silver plan. With a family plan, two adults and two children could be covered for $779 to $2,019 per month.
Average monthly cost of Bright HealthCare insurance
Based on available policies in North Carolina.
Bright offers both HMO and PPO Medicare Advantage plans. All plans have a narrow network of providers, but the PPO plans allow for some out-of-network coverage.
The plans have a $0 copay if you're in-network, and there's no need for specialist referrals. When looking at sample policies in New York City, the monthly cost for Bright's Medicare Advantage plans ranges from $0 to $95, in addition to the $148.50 standard cost for Part B.
Bright HealthCare availability
Bright HealthCare is a young company and still has limited availability throughout the country. It's currently available in 14 states, however coverage isn't always statewide. Because of the narrow network of providers, some regions of the state may have better access to care than others. Within the 14 states where it operates, the company operates in 99 markets.
Below are some of the major regions where Bright HealthCare insurance policies are available. Check to see if your preferred medical providers are part of the Bright HealthCare network by checking the directory of providers in your state or searching for medical facilities near you.
Medicare Advantage plans
|Arizona||Phoenix and Tucson||Phoenix|
|California||Southern California (Brand New Day and Central Health Plan of California)|
|Colorado||Denver, Summit County, and Dolores and San Juan Counties||Denver|
|Florida||Palm Beach, Daytona Beach, Orlando, Pensacola, Jacksonville, Tampa, Miami-Dade, and Broward Counties||Palm Beach, Daytona Beach, Orlando, Miami-Dade, Broward Counties, and Central Florida|
|Nebraska||Omaha and Statewide||Omaha|
|New Mexico||Statewide (True Health)|
|North Carolina||Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh-Durham, and Winston-Salem|
|Ohio||Cleveland, Cincinnati, Springfield, Toledo, and Youngstown|
Member resources and unique features
Bright insurance plans offer some valuable member services. Not all features are available with all health care plans or in all states. However, these highlighted benefits can improve the value you get from your insurance plan.
- Mental health coverage
- Free visits to a primary care doctor
- Some free generic prescriptions
- A national network of urgent care centers
- Rewards for healthy actions
- Prescription delivery and rides to the doctor for Medicare enrollees
Customer reviews and complaints
Bright HealthCare insurance has a high rate of dissatisfied policyholders. In the complaint database from the NAIC, the national company of Bright HealthCare has a complaint rate that's seven times higher than the industry average. It scored a 7.5 on the Complaint Index, where 1.0 is the average rate of complaints. About 48% of complaints were about claim handling, including denial of service and unsatisfactory settlements. Another 44% of complaints were about policyholder service, including coverage questions, unresponsiveness or access to care.
When state-level data is available, North Carolina and South Carolina have four times as many complaints as average. Tennessee has about twice as many complaints as average, and Arizona is slightly above average.
From the Better Business Bureau (BBB), even though the company has an A+ rating, its customer review average is 1.44 out of 5. Members share their frustrations across all online review platforms, and common complaints include poor customer service, frustrations about the limited network, billing problems, an outdated list of provider networks and more .
The financial strength of an insurance company is another important factor when considering if it will be able to pay claims. The company doesn't have financial ratings available from AM Best. However, after a recent IPO in June 2021, Bright HealthCare raised $925 million, resulting in a $10.4 billion company valuation.
Frequently asked questions
Is Bright HealthCare insurance good?
The low-cost insurance provider has a large number of unsatisfied members, and the rate of complaints is seven times higher than the national average.
What is Bright health insurance?
Bright HealthCare is a five-year-old company selling insurance products in 14 states. It offers plans for individuals, small businesses and Medicare Advantage. Individual insurance plans are about 15% cheaper than average, but members can only use a small network of medical providers.
How do you cancel Bright HealthCare insurance?
If you purchased Bright HealthCare Insurance through Healthcare.gov or your state's health insurance marketplace, you must cancel your policy through the marketplace, rather than canceling directly through the company. In other cases, use the Bright HealthCare phone number to cancel because you can't cancel online.
Who accepts Bright HealthCare insurance?
Bright HealthCare insurance is accepted by a limited network of providers, and going out of network means you'll pay full price for health care services. Check the online directory of providers and confirm with your doctor that the insurance is accepted.
Sources and methodology
Cost data for Bright HealthCare and competitor insurance policies was sourced from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Healthcare.gov and Medicare.gov. Individual health insurance comparisons sampled costs in North Carolina because Bright HealthCare serves multiple markets within the state. Costs for Medicare Advantage plans are based on available policies in New York City. Averages were calculated based on the insurance company, location, metal tier, age and family size.