An estimated 155 million people under the age of 65 in the United States have a health insurance coverage option through their employer, while another 8.8 million signed up for coverage under ACA policies for 2018.
Many consumers, however, still struggle with understanding their coverage options, including the health insurance companies they have access to, the cost for coverage, and the extent to which insurance covers their healthcare needs. The health insurance market can seem overwhelming to consumers seeking out coverage for themselves and their families, so it can help to know which providers are considered among the best health insurance companies.
The list focuses on national insurance providers that have high marks in customer service, accessibility, affordable coverage, and ease of applying. Individuals shopping for the best health insurance should consider these factors when they compare health insurance plans below.
Table of Contents:
Best Health Insurance Companies
Blue Cross/Blue Shield
As one of the largest health insurance providers in the nation, Blue Cross/Blue Shield ranks as one of the top health insurance companies because of its extensive network. Individuals covered under a Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance plan have access to 37 organizations nationwide, as well as more than 20 different plan options to fit most budgets and coverage needs.
This health insurer offers both standard and ACA-compliant options, and customizable plan coverage based on deductibles, coinsurance responsibilities, and price range. Blue Cross/Blue Shield also offers a health and wellness program through Blue365, which provides policyholders access to discounts on products like gym memberships and vitamins. The insurer also has a user-friendly website and online health portal that helps individuals track their healthcare and prescriptions quickly and accurately.
Health insurance provided by Humana also one of the top rated health insurance companies according to consumers, mainly for its customer service aspect and ease of accessibility. However, Humana is only currently available in 22 states, primarily in the south, west, and midwest regions. Humana has a variety of plan options for both individuals and families, and the premiums for healthcare coverage are typically lower compared to other health insurance plans with other companies.
One of the aspects of Humana that makes it stand out among the best health insurance companies is its offering of health and wellness benefits to policyholders. Humana has a 24-hour phone service for medical questions, an extensive library of health information found online, as well as an online rewards program for those who want to develop healthy habits.
Kaiser Permanente also makes the list of best health insurance companies because of its network of doctors and healthcare facilities across the eight states it serves. Individuals in Virginia, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, California, Georgia, Hawaii, or the D.C. area can select one of several different options for coverage through Kaiser Permanente.
Plan premiums are in line with the average cost of health insurance for the country, and options are available for both individuals and families. Kaiser Permanente is unique in that coverage is provided through its network of Kaiser facilities, hospitals, and clinics, making it easy for policyholders to know where they can receive care under a plan.
Similar to other providers, the health insurer also offers a health and wellness program that includes health guides, classes and health coaching, natural medicine resources, and special discounts for health and wellness resources.
United Healthcare makes the list of best health insurance companies because it is available nationwide through its network of more than 6,000 hospitals, care facilities, and more than one million healthcare professionals. United Healthcare offers a wide variety of health insurance plans for individuals and families, as well as short-term gap coverage and ACA-compliant policies.
Individuals with United Healthcare can customize their insurance coverage to meet their budget and care needs, and they have access to one of the largest online platforms for managing healthcare through the insurer. Individuals with United Healthcare also have access to a health and wellness program that offers online seminars, quizzes, and educational resources at no additional cost.
Cigna health insurance is offered in 12 states for both individuals and families through a vast network of hospitals, facilities, clinics, and pharmacies. Individuals with Cigna health insurance have access to several types of plan options that range in cost based on the deductible, coinsurance, and total coverage.
Cigna health insurance policy costs are in-line with the nation’s average, and individuals covered under a Cigna plan have access to a robust online portal to help manage healthcare over time. Cigna offers ACA-compliant policies as well, along with added features like HSA access and an at-home pharmacy delivery option.
Best Health Insurance FAQ
What Factors Should You Consider When You Compare Health Insurance Plans?
When selecting a health insurance provider, it is important to consider all the components of a plan alongside specific information regarding the health insurance company. Individuals should think through what they want in terms of coverage, any restrictions placed on where or how they can receive healthcare, and any added features that are included in a health insurance plan.
It is also necessary to evaluate the total cost of insurance, not simply the premium, but expenses like co-pays and coinsurance, and the deductible. Evaluating health insurance companies requires a look into policyholder reviews, the history of premium increases or decreases, and available coverage areas.
How Do You Decide Which Plan is Right for You?
Several types of health insurance plans are available through various providers, including HMOs, PPOs, POS, and EPOS. Each has distinct features and drawbacks which should be considered before selecting a plan. You can compare health insurance plans below:
- HMO - with an HMO, you have the least freedom to choose your health care provider as you have access only to those in your network. If you see a doctor outside of the HMO network, you are not covered under your insurance plan. However, HMOs offer ease in managing your healthcare and paperwork over time as there are no claims to submit for reimbursement.
- PPO - with a PPO, you can see doctors in or outside of your plan’s network, but outside doctors may cost more. You have more flexibility in how you manage your healthcare needs, but you also have more responsibility for submitting claim forms for out-of-network providers.
- POS - Point of service health insurance plans combine the benefits of HMOs and PPOs, with any care provided by a primary care physician covered under the plan. There are still network and out-of-network providers in a POS plan, but the requirements for co-pays, deductibles, and claims processes differ depending on where the care is provided.
- EPO - an exclusive provider organization plan, or EPO, allows you to choose your healthcare provider with some degree of freedom, but there is no coverage for out-of-network care other than an emergency. EPOs may have lower premiums than PPOs, but they may also have deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance. There is little paperwork required for EPO claims.
Choosing the best medical insurance plan comes down to the amount of flexibility you want in selecting a doctor or other care provider, and the cost of that flexibility.
What Does Standard Health Insurance Cover?
Nearly all health insurance plans cover essential health benefits, which include the following:
- Ambulatory services
- Emergency care
- Maternity and newborn care
- Mental health and substance abuse care
- Prescription drugs
- Rehabilitative care
- Lab services
- Preventative and wellness care
- Pediatric services
While many of these benefits are covered under health insurance plans, it is necessary to review your specific plan coverage to see what is truly covered, what requires a co-pay or coinsurance, and how these impact your deductible each year.
What Are the Costs of Health Insurance?
The average cost of health insurance varies from state to state and from individual to individual. This is because health insurance companies base the premium on smoker or non-smoker status, age of the insured, and the addition of family members under a plan. Health insurance premiums cost $393 per month for individuals and $1,021 per month for family plans, according to eHealth insurance.