Health insurance is one of the most essential monthly payments for individuals and families in the United States and, for that reason, deciding which plan is best for you is stressful, especially if the cost of monthly premiums is a major concern. Regardless of your situation, it is important to review what is available through the best health insurance companies in the country and find a plan that works for your needs and your budget. This task may seem daunting but it boils down to three key principles: location, capital, and the specificity of your needs, all of which we will elucidate in this article to help you choose the best plan for you and your family.
Health insurance is an important and essential purchase for any individual or family and, due to the gravity of the product, we highly recommend you ask any insurance company you consider questions unique to your situation to avoid any confusion regarding their product's applicability to your situation. However, we have furnished responses to some of the most common inquiries below.
1. What Differentiates the Best Health Insurance Companies from One Another?
The biggest differentiating factor among the best health insurance companies in the country is geography. Many of the companies we reviewed for this article operate in a limited number of states. Furthermore, some insurance companies may operate in only a portion of some states in which they offer coverage. Outside of the geographic distinction, some insurance companies cater to specific needs or a set of specific needs as we will discuss below.
2. What Do the Best Health Insurance Companies Charge in Monthly Premiums?
Because each of the best health insurance companies in the United States offer such a wide array of plans, it is nearly impossible to make a categorical statement regarding price. Every company we reviewed for this article offers at least a few plans specifically for potential members on a budget but, as we will elucidate, some do a better job than others.
3. What Ancillary Benefits Do the Best Health Insurance Companies Offer?
The latest trend in the health insurance industry is a move toward preventative care. To this end, the best health insurance companies have started to offer their members numerous incentives to live a healthy lifestyle. These include discounts on gym memberships, dietary advice and support, access to smoking cessation products, and complimentary mental health services.
4. What Level of Customer Service Should I Expect?
To be consistently numbered among the best health insurance companies in the industry, a company must offer great customer service. When a leading insurance provider falters in customer service, their members complain, and not just to the company, to anyone who cares to read about it on the internet. The most pertinent issue in customer service at this point is the role of online customer service. Some companies we reviewed for this article have all but abandoned over the phone customer service while others strike a balance between the old-fashioned way and the app. For a potential member, it is all about personal preference.
5. How Do I Choose the Plan that Is Best for My Situation?
In order to make an informed decision regarding health insurance, you must first take stock of your situation. Specifically, you must take into account your location, what you can afford to pay monthly, your specific medical needs, and any dependents you may have.
How We Reviewed
In order to provide our readers with a comprehensive survey of the best health insurance companies and their plans, we conducted an extensive review of information available from outlets that cover the health insurance industry, personal reviews from members of each of the companies mentioned in this article, and information available through the insurance companies themselves.
Overall Price Range
As we mentioned above, the plethora of plans available through the best insurance companies makes any definitive statement about price difficult. For an individual, a limited number of plans can be found for less than $100, but for individuals and families in difficult financial situations, there are often government-subsidized plans available that further reduce that cost. On the high end, health insurance is a lot purchasing a car or a bottle of wine: you can spend as much as you want and the quality will just continue to climb.
What We Reviewed
Kaiser Permanente only operates in eight states across the country: California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, Hawaii, and Washington D. C. Furthermore, Kaiser Permanente only works with a limited number physicians and hospitals within their already limited scope. That being said, the quality of care provided by Kaiser Permanente within the breadth of their purview is among the best in the industry.
For frequent international travelers, Kaiser Permanente is among the best health insurance companies in the country as the company covers many emergency services in foreign countries, even when care is received at a hospital outside of Kaiser Permanente's pre-determined network.
Kaiser Permanente's high-quality but geographically limited services come at lower premiums than most of the best health insurance companies offer their policyholders and they administer their affordable, quality care with a new, industry-leading mobile application that makes care management simpler for technologically literate policyholders.
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Blue Cross/Blue Shield
None of the best health insurance companies in the United States can rival Blue Cross/Blue Shield in terms of breadth. The company operates in every state in the country and offers a comprehensive selection of plans which ensures each potential policyholder will be able to a find a plan which meets their needs. For the most part, Blue Cross/Blue Shield covers its policyholders at premiums within the average range for a company of its size and scope; however, premiums can be slightly higher than average for older policyholders.
One of the most celebrated aspects of receiving care through Blue Cross/Blue Shield is the ubiquitous availability of discounts on gym memberships, fitness products, dietary services, and other health-related goods that some of the best health insurance companies do not offer their policyholders.
The most noteworthy downside to purchasing health insurance through Blue Cross/Blue Shield is the lack of consistency across the country. Blue Cross/Blue Shield is actually an amalgam of independent agencies all of which offer slightly different plans at slightly different prices meaning their coverage could be more or less appealing based on your location.
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Similar to Kaiser Permanente, care through Humana is of very high quality but only available to potential policyholders in a limited number of states across the country, primarily in the South and the Midwest. If you do happen to live in one of the 22 states in which Humana works, their policies are well worth looking into as the company offers a breadth of plans on par with Blue Cross/Blue Shield at lower than average premiums based on the price of plans offered by the best health insurance companies.
For seniors with persistent health issues, Humana is a great option because it offers plans that cover in-home services that can be an onerous financial burden late in life. Home care is also an important consideration for potential policyholders with chronic illness or those transitioning from an extended hospital stay.
Humana has also developed a far-reaching assemblage of programs designed to cultivate healthy habits amongst their clientele. These programs include cooking classes, discounts on sports equipment, and guidance groups for all aspects of holistic health.
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Aetna is one of the best health insurance companies in the country for recent graduates or young, freelance workers on a budget. While some older potential policyholders may not see the same benefits, younger people can qualify for rock-bottom premiums with Aetna for dental, vision, and medical insurance. While the company does not offer short-term plans to cover gaps in coverage, they do offer a variety of supplemental policies for individuals in difficult situations or those who simply hope to expand upon their extant coverage.
Many users found Aetna's online tools difficult to use or lacking in some of the functionality available from the best health insurance companies' online tools. However, Aetna has a robust social media presence and they respond quickly to questions through a variety of online mediums to clarify the nature of their policies.
Aetna offers low-cost plans and plans through the Affordable Care Act in all 50 states, their coverage can be supplemental or comprehensive, and they have options of almost every variety with the exception of short-term coverage for those expecting a gap in coverage.
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Coverage through Cigna is only available in 12 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. In these states, Cigna offers a variety of medical and dental plans primarily through employers but also on the individual market which includes plans for individuals who qualify for Medicare or Medicaid.
While prices vary from state to state, Cigna offers primarily high-deductible plans at relatively high premiums. Naturally, these more expensive plans come with more extensive benefits and more comprehensive coverage than similar plans in the states in which Cigna operates.
Cigna policyholders have consistently cited Cigna's online tools as the factor that distinguishes their coverage from their competitors amongst the best health insurance companies in the United States. Policyholders can manage all aspects of their care from tracking the status of a claim to ordering pharmaceuticals for home delivery online.
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Anthem is the largest subsidiary of Blue Cross/Blue Shield in the country. They operate in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin. In each of these states they other a comprehensive selection of medical, dental, and vision insurance plans within the purview of Blue Cross/Blue Shield's nationwide network of independent agencies.
While premiums vary from state to state, Anthem typically provides coverage at a premium consistent with their competitors among the best health insurance companies in the country although this was not always the case for potential policyholders over the age of 55 who often received quotes above the average for their area from Anthem.
As is the case with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Anthem policyholders have access to an array of discounts on products and services designed to optimize healthy choices on a day-to-day basis. These products include but are not limited to gym memberships, dietary regimens, and fitness equipment.
The most consistent complaint Anthem policyholders have leveled against the company is that the company fails to provide adequate customer service, especially over the phone.
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Molina Healthcare offers medical and vision insurance including comprehensive coverage of prenatal care, emergency service care, and inpatient hospital care to residents of California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, New Mexico, Ohio, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. As is true of most of the best health insurance companies, Molina's plans and premiums vary depending on your state of residence.
Molina focuses on wellness care, meaning the company uses its resources to ensure its members have access to all the resources they need to promote all-around well-being, especially for its members with idiosyncratic medical conditions. For example, Molina offers an unprecedented level of coverage for women who experience a high-risk pregnancy.
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First and foremost, you must select a plan that not only functions in your state but also has in-network physicians you can reasonably see based on where exactly you live. Once you have narrowed your choices based on geography, make sure the best health insurance companies in your area offer plans you can afford. From there, you can make an informed decision based on your more specific needs. If a budget plan is the highest priority, Aetna is probably the best choice for you. If you have a rare chronic condition that requires extensive medical care, consider Molina. If you simply need a purveyor of quality care in your state Humana and Kaiser Permanente should be ideal.