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Trying to find the best health insurance can be a confusing process. There are several criteria to keep in mind when you make your decision including financial strength, customer service ratings, claims service, plan prices, policy offerings, coverage benefits, and provider choices. There is no one “best” health insurance company, but the best one for you will depend on the type of health insurance you need, your budget, and what is available in your area.
Many health insurers offer the option of a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plan. An HMO has its own network of doctors who have an agreed-upon price for the health care services they provide, while a PPO is made up of pre-approved physicians that participate in the network and offer lower costs to members. Most PPO plans will also allow you to access an out-of-network provider for a higher fee.
The region you live in will determine which health insurers you have access to, and coverage options vary from state to state. It can be a daunting process trying to find a health insurer that matches all your needs, but we’ve done the research to come up with a list of insurers that have a good reputation and perform well in the areas of policy offerings and plan choices. These 6 health insurers are some of the best options for health care coverage for 2019.
Best for Health Savings Plan (HSA) Options: Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is a trusted name in health insurance. It offers medical care through its managed care organization and a network of Kaiser Foundation hospitals and medical centers. It has won numerous customer service awards from J.D. Power & Associates and has excellent financial strength ratings. Kaiser Permanente offers health insurance to residents of Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Washington, and both Northern and Southern California, as well as those living in the Mid-Atlantic and Northwest regions. Its network includes more than 22,000 participating physicians.
If you live in Kaiser Permanente’s coverage area, you have access to several plan options including classic plans, essential plans, and advantage plans. All plan types offer the option to add a health savings Plan (HSA) option. HSA options have an individual deductible of $5,000 and a family deductible of $10,000. Depending on the plan you choose, you have access to services like unlimited doctor’s visits, no co-pay plans, after-hours care, generic prescription drugs, and online wellness tools.
Best Large Provider Network: BlueCross/BlueShield
The Blue Cross Association offers health insurance coverage not only in the United States but worldwide in over 170 countries. Almost 100 million Americans have their health insurance through a BlueCross/BlueShield organization. There are 39 Blue Cross health insurance organizations in the U.S. and most have A.M. Best financial strength ratings of “A+ (Excellent)” or above.
Blue Cross member s have access to plans through HMOs and PPOs. The HMO plans offer the most comprehensive plans at the greatest savings but limit doctor choices to those inside the HMO. The PPO plans, on the other hand, offer more flexibility with a great number of participating doctors. In fact, Blue Cross PPO providers are so numerous that you are likely to be close to one no matter what part of the country you live in. Blue Cross plans also give you access to HSA and FSA health savings accounts. With an FSA plan, you can save money tax-free for health insurance deductibles and other health-related expenses. The HSA plan is similar but must be used only for medically-qualifying expenses. Many people apply the funds in these plans to insurance deductibles and enjoy the benefits of lower insurance premiums with a high-deductible plan.
Best for Online Care: UnitedHealthCare
UnitedHealthCare has an “A (Excellent)” financial strength rating from A.M. Best and is the largest single health insurer in the U.S. It offers individual insurance that meets the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements for essential care. A real standout feature for UnitedHealthCare members is the access to online care, including the ability to order prescriptions online, speak with a nurse help hotline, and participate in online wellness programs. Members can also go online 24/7 to set up doctor’s appointments, file claims, and find doctors. They even have a mobile app so you can use these resources on the go.
UHC is a great choice for people who want the option to manage their health care electronically. HMO and PPO plans are available with access to healthcare savings accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA). Member discounts are available for hearing aids, vision services (including Lasik), and smoking cessation programs. UnitedHealthCare has a very large preferred provider network of over 790,000 participating physicians.
Best for Employer-Based Plans: Aetna
Aetna has an excellent reputation and is one of the largest health insurers in the U.S. It has an “A (Excellent)” A.M. Best rating and provides employer health plans to residents of all 50 U.S. states. Aetna offers affordable health insurance options that include preventive care, hospitalization, office visits, immunizations and other types of essential health care services. Members also have access to tax-free health savings account (HSA) plans. There is a large provider network, so members will be able to find an Aetna-approved provider no matter the part of the country they reside in. Network plan options allow members to see an in-network doctor or any licensed doctor, although seeing a network doctor will provide the greatest savings. There are numerous wellness programs available to Aetna members including gym memberships, weight-loss programs, chiropractic services, and more.
Best for Telehealth Care: Cigna
Cigna is a global health insurance provider and offers health insurance in 12 U.S. States: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. It has an “A (Excellent)” financial strength rating from A.M. Best. Its preferred provider network includes more than 500,000 participating physicians. No referrals are necessary to see an out-of-network provider although greater savings are realized by using an in-network provider.
Plan options, deductibles and co-pay options will vary by state. High-deductible plans are available along with health care savings plan options. Policyholders have access online to search plan network doctors, estimate costs, check claims status, and get insurance ID cards. There are several attractive member benefits including access to a home delivery pharmacy, health information helpline, rewards programs, flu shot information, and the Cigna telehealth connection program, which allows you access to board-certified telehealth providers including American Well and MDLIVE.
Best for HMO Plans: HCSC
Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) is the largest customer-owned health insurer in the U.S. It was founded in 1936 and services more than 15 million members in its operating states of Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. (Plans and coverage options vary by state.) Wellness programs are available including an online health assessment tool, smoking cessation support, weight-loss programs, maternity programs, fitness programs, and a 24/7 nurse hotline. You can choose coverage from several plan types including HMO and PPO plans. Health savings plans are available, and you can also choose a high deductible plan to help reduce insurance premium costs.