8 Best Health Insurance Companies

Best Health Insurance Companies

Compare the best companies selling insurance in the U.S.

Which health insurance companies in the United States are the best? When your workplace offers a variety of health plans or you need to choose private health insurance coverage, it's difficult to know where to start looking through all of the alternatives.

We've done some of the legwork for you by looking at which health insurance companies in the United States have the best preventive, treatment, and customer satisfaction ratings. 

We chose nine organizations with a diverse product offering, including major providers and a couple of highly regarded regional businesses.

Start by inputting your zip code and then additional information on the providers' websites to get the best coverage for you and your family. 

You'll be guided to policies in your area that are appropriate for your situation, and you'll be able to compare local physician, hospital, and pharmacy options. You can also figure out what combination of premium, deductible, and other out-of-pocket costs is ideal for you.


1. Best For Medicare Advantage: Aetna


Aetna insurance company
Aetna

In 2019, Aetna Medicare Advantage plans sold in 37 states and the District of Columbia got top NCQA ratings (4.0 or higher), with Connecticut and Maine standing out. 

Aetna Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans will be available in 264 new counties across the US in 2020, giving coverage to millions more Medicare enrollees. 

In addition, the company offers Medicare supplement plans (Medigap) in 49 states. In addition to these, they provide a supplemental Medicare program that combines dentistry, vision, and hearing in several states.

Aetna is a large supplier of employer-based health insurance in the private sector. A total of four Aetna plans serving Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Utah made the top NCQA rankings in 2019, and Aetna plans were ranked second in Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia in the 2021 J.D. Power U.S. Commercial Health Plan Study. Furthermore, Aetna's pricing appears to be lower than that of several competitors.

Aetna was acquired by CVS Health Company in November 2018, and synergies between the two companies are starting to appear. 

Aetna medical plan members with high blood pressure, for example, can get a free home monitor from CVS. CVS stores may also have chronic disease monitoring equipment.



2. Best for Nationwide Coverage: Blue Cross Blue Shield

Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance company
Blue Cross Blue Shield

Blue Cross Blue Shield of California insures one out of every three Americans. Anthem, CareFirst, Highmark, Independence, and Wellmark are among the brands on various state plans, although the 35 independent and regionally run Blue Cross Blue Shield businesses operate in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. 

According to the firm, Blue Cross Blue Shield companies have contracts with more than 80% of doctors and 90% of hospitals nationwide, which is more than any other insurer.

In 2019, NCQA awarded moderate to high ratings to more than 40 Blue Cross Blue Shield corporate plans based on clinical quality and member satisfaction, while 10 Anthem plans—including some with lower overall ratings—performed admirably in the customer satisfaction category. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield offers group insurance, individual policies through healthcare.gov and Medicare plans in several options (Medigap, Prescription Drugs Part D, and Medicare Advantage).


3. Best for Global Coverage: Cigna

Cigna insurance company
Cigna
It's no surprise that a company called Global Health Advantage would be at the top of our list for worldwide coverage. 

This global health service corporation serves 17 million medical clients globally through a global network of 1.5 million healthcare professionals who have access to doctors in more than 30 countries. 

It employs over 70,000 people. Cigna joined forces with Express Scripts, the nation's largest pharmacy benefit manager, in 2018 to decrease costs and improve treatment, following in the footsteps of Aetna and CVS Health.

In the United States, four private Cigna plans received the highest NCQA rating. Although Cigna was a top performer in customer satisfaction in Illinois/Indiana, Virginia, New Jersey, and Ohio in J.D. Power's 2021 U.S. Commercial Member Health Plan Study, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) ranked it among the worst in its industry for member satisfaction in 2020.

Cigna sells medical and dental plans in all 50 states, as well as Washington, D.C. Individual plans are available in 313 counties across 13 states through healthcare.gov. In 2020, Cigna expanded its Medicare Advantage plans to 369 counties in 23 states, with coverage in five new states added for 2021.


4. Best for Umbrella Coverage: Humana

Humana insurance company
Humana

Eyeglasses and contacts, as well as dental checkups, crowns, and appliances, are frequently not covered by health insurance coverage. 

Humana, a broad-based health and well-being organization, provides private policies in all of these areas, and it offers a variety of plans for people with chronic illnesses, including transitions from the hospital to home care and meal delivery. 

Humana is also one of the firms that provides special needs insurance for persons who have a severe or disabling chronic ailment or who are in a long-term care facility. Humana no longer offers individual medical plans, focusing instead on healthcare solutions for businesses and Medicare plans.

NCQA gave high marks to four private Humana plans (Kansas/Missouri, Wisconsin, and two in Illinois) and three Humana Medicare Advantage plans (Florida, Illinois, and Tennessee). According to statistics from the ACSI poll, Humana led the pack in terms of customer satisfaction among health insurers in 2020. Humana's HMO insurance is relatively inexpensive.


4. Best for HMOS: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan insurance company
Kaiser permanente insurance company


With one plan (Mid-Atlantic States) receiving a top overall NCQA score of 5.0 and seven other plans ranging from Georgia to California receiving 4.0 to 4.5 ratings, the nonprofit insurer Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc—part of Kaiser Permanente—won exceptional ratings for private insurance

Kaiser was also a victor in the Medicare Advantage market, with eight plans in the top echelon. California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. are among the states where the company operates.

HMOs are used in all of Kaiser's highly rated private and Medicare Advantage plans. HMOs have lower premiums, no deductibles, reduced copays, and lower prescription drug expenses, which is fantastic news for individuals on a tight budget. 

The disadvantage of an HMO is that you must use only doctors, hospitals, and other services that are part of the network, save in emergencies. 

The plans, on the other hand, provide the same essential services as a PPO plan. Kaiser's insurance policies feature minimal premiums.


5. Best for The TECH SAVVY: United Healthcare

United Healthcare insurance company
United healthcare

Do you want to use an Apple Watch to keep track of your health? Do you want to file a claim, schedule a doctor's appointment, or look for doctors online? According to United Healthcare's annual poll, 37% of customers purchase health care on a computer or through mobile apps. The company promotes "consumer-driven digital health care," which includes diabetes control wearable technology, smart baby monitors for high-risk infants, and activity trackers that allow fitness users to earn cash prizes.

In total NCQA ratings, two private United Healthcare plans (both in Rhode Island) received a 4.5, while 11 plans in five states (Iowa, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin) received a 4.0. A total of 34 of its Medicare Advantage plans, including those sold under the name Sierra Health and Life Insurance Company, Inc., were highly rated.

Individuals, corporations, and Medicare and Medicaid recipients can all take advantage of United's entire range of health benefit programs. 

It has direct contracts with over 1.3 million physicians and other healthcare professionals, as well as 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities around the country. 

Health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts are available with both HMO and PPO insurance (FSAs). Its policies may be more expensive than those of some of its competitors, but the extra features may be worth it.


6. Best for The MIDWEST: HealthPartners

This corporation sells Medicare plans in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois under the names Group Health Plan, Inc and HealthPartners Insurance Company. NCQA gave all three of its private plans a 4.5 overall rating.

This plan may appeal to diabetics, as one of HealthPartners' commitments to customers is to supply monthly insulin supplies for no more than $25.

Depending on where you reside and your unique coverage needs, the firm offers three different plans in Minnesota and two different options in Wisconsin. Those who live in Minnesota's HealthPartners Insurance area have the most possibilities.


7. Best for New England: Harvard Pilgrim

Harvard-Pilgrim insurance company
Harvard Pilgrim

This non-profit organization in New England has 4.5-rated plans in two states (Maine and Massachusetts), one of which also received a 4.5 for prevention, and a 4.0-rated plan in New Hampshire. 

Harvard Pilgrim and United Healthcare have partnered to offer the Harvard Pilgrim Passport and Access America plans, which give members access to a nationwide network of doctors, hundreds of hospitals, and flexible health benefits.


8. Best for New York: Capital District Physicians' Health Plan

Capital District Physicians' Health  insurance company
CDPHP

Some of the highest-rated plans in the market are offered by this physician-directed health plan. NCQA gave two plans a 5.0 overall score, making them two of just six private plans in the country to receive a 5.0 in consumer satisfaction. 

CDPHP's third plan, which received a 4.5, was at the top, and the company's Medicare Advantage plan also received strong marks. The plans are available in 29 of the 62 counties in New York. Eight of the company's 15 board members are doctors, according to the corporation.


FAQs

Q1. What Does Health Insurance Cover?

A. You'll find that health insurance coverage varies a lot from one insurance provider to the next, and even within a single carrier's policies. While your specific selections may differ, there are fundamental coverage requirements that must be met by any health insurance policy.

Essential Health Benefits are ten types of health services that all healtcare.gov insurance plans are required to cover under the Affordable Care Act.

Pregnancy and delivery services, prescription drug coverage, mental health services, outpatient hospital care, preventative care, and emergency treatments are just a few of the services available. Minors must also be covered by dental plans (adult dental coverage is optional).

The specifics and limitations of this coverage may vary from state to state. Large organizations that self-insure their employees are also not compelled to follow these same guidelines, but many do. If you are offered health insurance via your employer, you should verify with your employer's plan to determine exactly what is covered.

Q2. Is Health Insurance Required?

A. When the Affordable Care Act was first implemented, it featured a health insurance requirement, requiring you to pay a penalty charge if you could afford appropriate health insurance (“minimum essential coverage”) throughout the year but chose not to obtain it. This cost was normally assessed on everyone in your household who did not satisfy the minimum healthcare standards when it came time to file that year's taxes.

On a federal level, however, this penalty—known as the Shared Responsibility Payment—was overturned beginning with the 2019 plan year. If you opt not to carry minimum coverage, you are no longer accountable for the fee, and no exemption is required to avoid the penalty.

Some states, however, continue to have their health insurance coverage standards. Check your state's legislation to see what amount of insurance you're needed to have and what fines, if any, you'll face if you don't satisfy these minimal requirements.


Q3. How to Determine the Best Health Insurance Plan?

A. Purchasing health insurance may be a time-consuming and perplexing task, especially with so many options and rates to consider.

If you want to make the search a little easier, ask yourself a few questions. They are as follows:


  1. Is coverage provided by my company or will I have to shop for coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace? If available, a workplace plan may be less expensive than purchasing a private plan.
  2. How often do I expect to use my insurance? If you only go to the doctor for routine/preventative treatment, you'll need a different strategy than someone with a chronic illness or a child with special needs.
  3. What kind of expenses might I anticipate? A high deductible or higher premiums are often the two options available to you. A plan with a high deductible can save you money all year if you don't intend to use your coverage much and can handle the out-of-pocket expense if you do require serious care. Paying a little more for premiums in exchange for a smaller cost-share/deductible may be the less painful alternative if you and your family visit the doctor frequently.
  4. Will I be able to see my current physician(s)? If you like seeing your present doctors, be sure they accept your new plan before switching, or you'll have to look for new ones.
  5. What if I require immediate medical attention (particularly while traveling)? Before choosing a plan, examine the fine print and coverage options thoroughly, especially if you frequently travel to other states. When it comes to receiving treatment while away from home, some plans have tougher rules than others.

You may wish to evaluate PPO vs. HMO alternatives depending on whether you're choosing an employer-based plan or buying on the Marketplace. You should also think about whether you require a plan that includes dental and/or vision coverage.

Q4. How Much Does Health Insurance Cost?

A. Numerous personal elements go into calculating your coverage cost, just as there are with any insurance policy. When it comes to health insurance rates, you must consider the differences between employer-sponsored and Marketplace-purchased plans, the difference between single-person and family coverage, and whether your income qualifies you for a tax credit on your Marketplace plan premiums.

However, there are a few elements that go into determining the cost of health insurance across the board. Your age, location, plan category, individual vs. family enrollment, and whether or not you use cigarettes are all factors to consider.

If you smoke or vape, for example, you may anticipate your premiums to rise by as much as 50% whether you buy an employer-sponsored plan or one on the Marketplace. When you consider that annual healthcare premiums for single people average around $7,470 and $21,324 for families, a 50 percent increase may seem enormous.


Q5. How We Chose the Best Health Insurance Companies?

A. We looked at the 126 top-rated health insurance plans by NCQA, the National Committee for Quality Assurance, a non-profit grading organization, and grouped them by the insurance firm. 

The list was then whittled down to companies that offered highly rated insurance in various states. Most organizations have to have an A- financial rating from AM Best, Fitch, or Standard & Poor's to make the best list.

Then we took a closer look at each of our nine top-rated organizations to see if they had any unique qualities that might appeal to different types of customers. 

In the 2020 ACSI (American Customer Satisfaction Index) survey of roughly 500,000 consumers, and the 2021 J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey of 32,066 commercial health plan members, we looked at how the companies were rated in NCQA subcategories. 

We evaluated the depth and breadth of the company's coverage offers and price for individual and employer-based insurance, Medicare Advantage, and other types of policies using company profiles and Top Ten Reviews.


We also looked at coverage kinds and availability (the number of doctors, hospitals, and medical systems that contract with (or accept) a specific insurance company's coverage). We also analyzed where these insurance businesses do business and whether or not policies are available through healthcare.gov.

Finally, while searching for Health Insurance Companies, we looked at the number of plans available and the coverage limits that consumers could choose from.

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