Whether you need individual health insurance or a health insurance plan to cover your whole family, understanding health insurance in the United States can be tricky. In addition to knowing the types of insurance coverage available and what health care costs to expect, you also need to know the differences between various covered services, health care plans, and health insurance terms. Some of the best health insurance companies provide exceptional customer service and comprehensive health coverage at affordable costs to simplify the process. 

9 Best Health Insurance Companies

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • United Healthcare
  • Aetna (CVS Health Corporation)
  • HealthPartners
  • Bright HealthCare
  • Kaiser Permanente 
  • Cigna 
  • Humana 
  • Molina Healthcare

Insured people across the United States have several best health insurance options in addition to federal programs like original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid for those who qualify. Still, health insurance coverage can vary from company to company, state to state, and person to person. This is why it’s necessary to understand health insurance basics and the member services you deserve before deciding on the right health insurance company for your needs.

Best Health Insurance Companies

The following companies make our list of the best health insurance options for their general commitment to offering various types of health insurance plans, keeping costs affordable, and providing helpful member services. Customer satisfaction also weighed into our decisions. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Blue Cross Blue Shield is a global network of health insurance companies, known as the Blue Shield Association, that operate in various countries and across the United States. For instance, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is available in states like Colorado and Connecticut, while Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield operates in New York and Delaware.

Blue Cross Blue Shield manages Medicare plans in addition to traditional health insurance. Members can receive multiple discounts, including percent-off discounts on subscription meal plans, savings on gym memberships and fitness equipment, and special deals on travel. The insurance company also provides helpful services to members, like estimating a procedure’s costs before getting it and filing and checking on insurance claims through an online portal.

United Healthcare

United Healthcare is another insurance company that manages traditional insurance plan options and Medicare plans.  Prospective members can purchase supplemental insurance, dental and vision insurance, short-term health insurance, and Affordable Care Act health plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

United Healthcare members enjoy a wide range of benefits in addition to their insurance plan. For instance, the company offers mental and behavioral health services via apps and specialist visits and lets members visit doctors virtually when they cannot make it to the office. Medicare members can also access special fitness and wellness rewards to encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Aetna (CVS Health Corporation)

Aetna operates in 13 states, including New Jersey, California, and Texas. Aetna’s Affordable Care Act plans are a part of the CVS Health Corporation. These plans focus on preventative care and other essential elements of continuous health care to keep members on track with quality medical care without overpaying. Many services covered under these plans cost members little to no out-of-pocket expenses, including preventative care and virtual visits.

The Aetna CVS Health network also has more than 1,100 MinuteClinic locations that offer quick, walk-in medical services for members. Using MinuteClinics can keep your health insurance cost down, as many of their services include $0 out-of-pocket fees. Individuals and families can sign up for a plan starting November 1st during annual open enrollment.

HealthPartners

HealthPartners is a comprehensive healthcare network with its own health insurance plans, hospitals, and clinics. Currently, HealthPartners provides Medicare, Medicaid, employer, and individual and family insurance plans to members in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The company is focused on offering the best health insurance for the lowest costs, including making necessary prescriptions, like insulin, as affordable as possible for those who need them. Members can also get preventative care services covered for free and receive discounts for fitness and wellness services. 

Bright HealthCare

Bright HealthCare offers plans for seniors interested in Medicare Advantage insurance and individuals and families interested in affordable health insurance plans. The company has operated in several states, including North Carolina, Florida, and New York, but has recently expanded to include Texas, California, Georgia, Virginia, and Utah.

A Bright HealthCare health plan includes convenient telehealth services, prescription drug coverage, and in-network coverage. Members can also receive financial protection during severe illnesses to get continuous coverage when they need it most.

Kaiser Permanente 

Consistently regarded as one of the best health insurance companies by satisfied members and health insurance experts, Kaiser Permanente has customizable plans for individuals and families to get the health care service and coverage they need. This health insurance company is available in a handful of states, including California, Georgia, and Oregon. 

A unique offering of Kaiser Permanente is its Charitable Health Coverage for individuals or families who do not qualify for public or private health coverage but cannot afford to purchase a plan on their own. Eligible families can receive subsidized plans to access affordable healthcare coverage.

Cigna 

Cigna has Medicare plans and individual and family plans. Members can also choose various dental, vision, and supplemental insurance coverage, and large, medium, and small business employers can offer plans to their employees through Cigna. Cigna is available in 12 states, including Colorado, Florida, and Tennessee.

Several services available to Cigna members are free, including virtual care visits and preventative care visits, like well-child checkups or immunizations. Members also access a wide range of online tools to manage their care, like finding doctors and refilling prescriptions. Cigna rewards members who make smart decisions for their health and wellness by giving them up to $275 in rewards for specific activities, like getting a flu shot.

Humana 

Humana provides coverage for individuals, families, and Medicare and Medicaid recipients in almost all 50 states. The company is known for its unique dental, vision, and hearing bundles. These bundles allow members to add these important services to their plans for one low price with customizable coverages based on their needs. These plans begin at $35.99 per month.

Humana also features several benefits for its members, including the SilverSneakers fitness program for Medicare members to access fitness classes and stay motivated to lead healthy lifestyles. Other benefits include the Go365 rewards program for participating in health and wellness activities and the Humana Neighborhood Center with free resources to improve your overall health.

Molina Healthcare

Molina Healthcare covers more than 5 million members across multiple states, including individuals eligible for Medicaid or Medicare. The company also has dual plans for members who qualify for both public health insurance programs, allowing them to pay one affordable monthly premium for their plans.  

Molina Healthcare provides several benefits for members based on their plans and location. For instance, some members can add a supplemental dental plan to their insurance coverage, while others can use an over-the-counter benefits card to order supplements, vitamins, and other over-the-counter products. The company also allows eligible members to get free transportation to and from doctor appointments.

Important Health Insurance Terms

How does health insurance work? Admittedly, health insurance can be confusing, especially if you don’t understand all the health insurance terminology. Here’s a breakdown of words and phrases health insurance companies and plans frequently use when explaining your benefits.

  • Premium: The amount you pay every month to continue your health insurance. Think of it like rent or a utility bill. As long as you pay your premium, you’ll keep your health insurance plan current.
  • Deductible: The amount you need to pay before your health insurance plan begins covering eligible services. If you have a $2,000 deductible, you must pay $2,000 out-of-pocket before your plan covers specific services.
  • Copay: A fixed amount your health insurance company requires you to pay your provider to receive a service. Various services have different copays, with hospital or emergency room visits typically requiring the highest copays.
  • Coinsurance: The percentage of a service’s costs you’ll need to pay. For instance, you might pay 30% while your insurance plan covers the other 70%. 
  • Out-of-Pocket Costs: The amount of money you’ll need to pay for services covered by your health plan.
  • Out-of-Pocket Maximum: Insurance plans put a cap on the amount of money you pay out-of-pocket for covered services, known as the out-of-pocket maximum. After you reach this amount, your plan pays the full amount of covered services. 
  • Coverage: An umbrella term referring to the services and protections you receive under your health insurance plan. 
  • In-Network: In-network providers work with your insurance plan to provide covered services while accepting your plan’s discounts and payments.
  • Out-of-Network: Out-of-network providers are not in your plan’s network, so your services through them may not be covered by insurance or could cost more in out-of-pocket expenses. 
  • Open Enrollment: A period allowing everyone to enroll in a new health plan for the upcoming year. This typically begins in November annually.
  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO): HMO plans include a network of healthcare providers that offer services under your plan. They typically come with the lowest premiums, but you’ll have less freedom in choosing your providers.
  • Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): PPO plans have large networks of providers but often charge higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs for this benefit.
  • Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO): EPOs are a blend of HMOs and PPOs. They generally have lower premiums than PPOs but with a more limited network of providers. 

What About Vision and Dental Insurance?

Dental insurance and vision insurance are important for many individuals and families, but they are often not included in your insurance plan. Before choosing a plan, check to ensure that these coverages are included. Some adult health insurance plans automatically include dental and vision coverage for minor dependents. If not, you may need supplemental plans including one or both options.

Many of the best health insurance companies offer combined dental and vision coverage plans with just one monthly premium. In addition, you can typically choose from various coverages, depending on your health needs and premium budget. 

How To Choose the Best Health Insurance Company

Homeowners rely on several types of insurance for peace of mind. Finding the best health insurance is a priority for most households, though it takes time and work. It’s a good idea to spend time comparing the details of each plan to determine how it fits into your life and health needs.

First, consider copays versus coinsurance. Copays offer a more predictable way to know what you should expect to pay for a covered service. However, plans with coinsurance sometimes offer lower premiums.

Next, find out whether the providers you already use partner with your plan. If not, you may need to choose new providers, which can be time-consuming and stressful, especially for people with several healthcare needs. Determine if the premiums for plans you’re considering fit your budget. Although coverage is most important, ensure that you can comfortably pay for your health insurance each month to keep yourself and your family covered.