Top 25 Health Insurance Company Review
Health insurance prices have been increasing rapidly in recent years mainly because the cost of health care has been following a steady rise that dramatically outpaces even the rate of inflation. Doctor office visits can cost $200 or more if you don’t have health insurance and surgery prices are out of control. An emergency room visit can leave you in debt for a long time if you don’t have health insurance. The single biggest cause of bankruptcy in the United States is medical bills.
The top tier health insurance companies have been trying to develop plans that are affordable to the public and if you are looking for some information on the “big dogs” of health care insurance, this article will show you the top companies with their respective websites and describe their ratings, plans offered and their history.
First of all, why is it even important to choose a larger sized health insurance company versus a small insurer? Company reputation, claims experience, affordable plans, financial strength ratings, and customer service are all very important factors that you should consider in choosing your health insurance company but an often overlooked crucial consideration in choosing the best health insurance company is the company’s network of medical providers.
With almost all PPO, HMO, and POS plans the insurance company contractually arranges with hospitals, Physicians, Clinics, and other medical service providers to agree to cheaper rates for medical services for their members (called the “lower negotiated rate”). The larger the company then the more “pull” they have with the various medical providers to negotiate lower rates for their members because of volume (the millions of members on their insurance plans).
For example, a very large nationwide company like a United Healthcare or an Aetna will be able to negotiate some of the lowest rates possible for those on its health insurance plans where say a very small regional health insurance company like Avalon Healthcare out of Tampa, FL will have trouble getting anywhere close to the same discounts. It is not uncommon for people on plans offered by some of the larger companies like United Healthcare and Aetna to receive discounts of 50% or even more on prescriptions, Doctor office visits, and medical procedures.
If you want to compare multiple health insurance companies side by side then just use our free insurance quote finder at the top of the page or on our home page to get quotes from the top insurance companies offering health insurance coverage in your home zip code. Plug your zip code in at the top of the page and get a free health insurance quote comparison now!
Here is a listing of the top 25 health insurance companies with a review of different health insurance companies accompanying each listing. Note that there are many strong health insurance companies not listed on this list and that the order of the companies is not necessarily a ranking (although the largest and most reputable companies are mentioned first) because every person has different health insurance needs, companies offer different coverage and prices in different areas, and plans and rates change often (all the more reason to constantly be on the lookout and comparing health insurance quotes).
United Healthcare: United Healthcare is one of the biggest health insurance companies in the United States. UHC was founded in 1977 and their main goal is to provide affordable health insurance, to improve the quality of health care, and to provide their members with all the tools needed for a healthy lifestyle. Today, the United Healthcare Group along with sister company Uprise Incorporated serves more than 18 million Americans. They provide quality health care from an estimated 470,000 physicians in 4,500 hospitals; they serve in all 50 states and have 4 international markets. AM Best rates United Healthcare as an A (excellent) insurance company which means that they are a strong company that can meet their ongoing obligations with policy members. They offer disability, health, life insurance, vision, dental and pharmacy health plans in all the United States.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS): Blue Cross and Blue Shield is a family of 39 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. Blue Cross was founded in Texas in the year 1929 as a unique nonprofit health insurance plan for teacher and from then on spread across the United States. It is estimated that BCBS has about 99 million people in their health plans or one out of three Americans! For more than 70 years the Blue Cross companies have provided millions of families with quality and affordable health plans. Together, the 39 entities represent the oldest and largest family of health benefit companies. Today Blue Cross and Blue shield serves in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and their brands are registered in more than 170 countries! About 90 percent of hospitals and 80 percent of physicians nationwide have contracts with BCBS and the number keeps growing. Since the 39 entities are independent there is not an AM Best rating for the company as a whole. Most of the ratings however are A’s (Excellent) with the exception of Alabama and Rhode Island who are given a B+, which is still excellent due to the large quantity of people BCBS serves. They offer dental and health coverage everywhere you go and some of the most famous types of coverage that they have are Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) and the HMO, PPO and POS networks. (Remember, BCBS is different from state to state and area to area so they are not truly a nationwide company and differ in quality depending on where you live).
Humana: The official health benefit provider of the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour, Humana is one of the most well-known insurance companies in the United States. Founded in 1961 by two lawyers in the state of Kentucky; Humana is now one of the nation’s largest publicly traded health benefit companies with an estimated 6.4 million medical members. They serve in 27 states (mostly in the East of the United States with the exception of Texas, Arizona and Colorado) and in Puerto Rico. They have an AM Best Rating of A- (Excellent) and some experts argue that by the end of the decade Humana will be spread out across the country. Some of the plans they offer include Consumer Driven Plans, PPO’s, Government Sponsored Plans, Plans for U.S. Military dependents and retirees and Individual plans; as well as dental, life and disability insurance.
Aetna: Aetna is one of the nation’s leaders in health care, dental, life, group plan and disability insurance. Founded in 1850 in the state of Connecticut as an annuity fund to sell life insurance, the company has continuously kept growing and gives more and more people an opportunity for low-cost, excellent health plans. Today, Aetna has an estimated 15.8 million medical members, 13 million dental members and 10.6 million pharmacy members. The company also provides benefits through employers in all 50 states and serves Medicare, Medicaid and Individuals in selected areas. They have over 793,000 health care professionals affiliated to them, 462,000 primary care doctors and physicians and 4,716 hospitals. Rating for this company on AM Best is A (excellent) and Aetna companies in all states receive the same rating. Aetna was also the first insurance company to offer a consumer-directed health plan and it continues to lead the way with its diversity of plans and coverage.
Assurant: Assurant was founded in 1969 (Assurant Health was founded in 1982) and is based in New York and AM Best gives it a rating of A (Excellent). The company has offices in New York, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. The company also operates in Canada, United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Italy, Argentina, Brazil and Puerto Rico. The company operates in four segments: Assurant Solutions, Assurant Solutions, Assurant Special Property, Assurant Health and Assurant Employee benefits. Assurant Health is in charge of the individual health insurance, individual short term health insurance as well as student insurance. The Assurant Employee Benefit takes charge of group dental plans, group disability insurance and group term life insurance. The company itself covers about one million members nationwide and they have more than 200,000 agents through the United States. Also of note is that the company was one of the first health insurers to introduce Health Savings Accounts (HSA) into the health care industry.
UniCare: UniCare is a national organization focused on the delivery of quality health care products for their members. The company is one of the nation’s largest publicly traded managed care companies and has an estimated 13 million members throughout the United States. They offer a portfolio of health, life, pharmacy, dental and disability products that are directed to satisfy each member and their specific needs. Founded in 1995 UniCare, whose parent company WellPoint we will be discussing later on, knows that customers and employers want to save money and be well covered at the same time. Because of this they created products that combine the low-cost part of the equation and that best cover their members. They developed extensive health care provider networks that allow them to give out a broad variety of products and the best thing is that individuals as well as employers can select from basic to more comprehensive plans that meet their needs. The company received a rating of A- by AM Best and it’s a definite “big dog” when talking about Health Care Providers in the U.S.
WellPoint: WellPoint Incorporated (previously known as Anthem Incorporated) was formed when WellPoint Health Networks Incorporated and Anthem Incorporated merged in 2004. This relatively young company was founded and quickly became one of the nation’s leaders in health benefits in terms of commercial membership in the continental United States. By means of their nationwide network the company offers a vast array of health related products such as life benefits, disability insurance, dental, vision, pharmacy benefits, long term insurance and behavioral health benefits. The company is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana and is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association in the states that they serve and in all 50 states through UniCare. It is rated with an A (Excellent) by AM Best Ratings and they work to improve medical outcomes, reduce the administrative costs, increase efficiency and improve the overall quality of medical care in the United States. The company is striving to bring affordable quality health care back to America, educate people about their own health, work with their health care partners to improve the quality of health care and help shape public policy so that it makes the health care industry a cost accessible one.
CIGNA: CIGNA is the acronym used for the oldest health insurance company in the United States. It is a combination of two companies INA or Insurance Company of North America and CG or Connecticut General life Insurance Company, which were formed in the 1700s and 1800s respectively. CIGNA offers a wide variety of plans including HMOs, PPOs, POS and HSA plans to groups, individuals and families. They also have dental, vision, pharmacy, life, behavioral, disability and international plans available. It has 12 million members and offers its plans throughout Canada and the US. A.M. Best gives all American divisions of CIGNA A- ratings, which are considered excellent.
Kaiser Permanente: Kaiser Permanente has a huge presence in the 9 states it serves having over 8.7 million members. It offers both HMO and PPO plans, although it is more well-known for its HMO plans and facilities. The company has been offering healthcare in the United States for almost 65 years and does business partially as non-profit corporations and partially as for-profit corporations. Kaiser-Permanente was one of the forerunners in managed care and one of the first HMOs. A.M. Best rates Kaiser Permanente A- (Excellent), with some of their smaller groups rating B, which is still a good rating.
Golden Rule: Golden Rule Insurance Company has been in business for over 60 years. It was one of the driving forces for the HSA or Health Savings Account type of plan, one of the newest health insurance plan options to become available in recent years. The company is based in Indiana. In 2003, it became a part of United Healthcare. Their healthcare plans originate from United, but they are well-known for the customer care and service. A wide variety of health, dental, vision and other plans are offered. Golden Rule receives an A from A.M. Best
Celtic: Celtic is considered a specialty health insurance company and is one of the babies on the block, having been around since only 1978. Celtic offers both individual and family plans, including a basic plan, HSAs, student plans, short term and comprehensive plans. They specialize in creating low cost health insurance for Americans and have a solid reputation. A.M. Best gives Celtic a B++, which is a good rating.
Continental General: Continental General offers health insurance to families, individuals and companies and has been in business since 1961. The plans range from basic to comprehensive, HSAs, PPOs, short-term coverage and more. They even offer dental coverage. Continental General has a B++ rating from A.M. Best, which is considered good.
Coventry Health Care: Coventry Health Care is relatively new, having been around since only 1986. Despite this, it has over 4.7 million members nationwide. It is even listed on the Big Board at the New York Stock Exchange. Coventry offers both individual and group policies. They have something for everyone including PPO, POS and HMO plans. They even have student plans and short-term policies. They also offer behavioral health coverage. Coventry received A- or Excellent ratings from A.M. Best for the main company. Some of the smaller divisions which are specific to individual states received B+ or B++, which are still good ratings.
Medical Mutual: Medical Mutual was one of the first companies to ever offer a pre-paid hospitalization plan when they began in 1934. They were the very first to offer a plan that could be used at multiple hospitals. Presently they provide group health insurance as well as individual plans. Those plans are varied enough to allow people to customize what they really want and need. Short term coverage, student plans, HSAs and other options are available. A.M. Best gave Medical Mutual and its different groups As consistently for an excellent rating, with the exception of the Maine division which received a B++.
Mega Life and Health Insurance: Mega Life and Health Insurance is based in Oklahoma and offers health insurance as well as other types of insurance such as dental, vision and hospital indemnification. The health insurance plans that are available to individuals, families and groups can be customized to the specific needs of the person who is making the decision. Mega Life and Health Insurance received B++ for good ratings from A.M. Best. Mega Life has received many complaints online and it should be noted that Mega Life only offers very limited benefit health plans.
American Medical Security Life Insurance Company: American Medical Security Life Insurance Company serves most of the country, offering individual and family health plans, as well as dental plans. They strive to offer plans that are competitively priced, while meeting the needs of their members. They offer POS plans and HSA plans. A.M. Best gives American Medical Security Life Insurance an A- for excellent ratings. AMS is a strong company that is a part of the United Healthcare group of companies and as such has access to the very large UHC network of doctors, hospitals, and health care providers.
Group Health Cooperative: Group Health Cooperative is a nonprofit health care company that has been serving Idaho and Washington since 1947. It has a history of being at the forefront of technology in medicine and being a part of important research. The health plans offered by the company include ones for employers, individuals, families and government employees. There are PPOs, HMOs, POS plans and dental plans, as well as many other offerings that will help you customize something that is right for you. A.M. Best gave Group Health Cooperative a B++ or good rating.
Health Net Health Plan of Oregon: Health Net Health Plan of Oregon is a subsidiary of Health Net Inc. and as such offers a variety of health plans, including HSAs, POS, HMO and PPO. Health Net is one of the biggest insurers nationwide and insures more than 6.6 million people. It is a publicly traded company. Health Net Health Plan of Oregon got a B+ from A.M. Best
Health Net of Arizona: Health Net of Arizona is another division of the publicly traded Health Net Inc. In addition to its regular offerings Health Net offers a diverse selection of services including behavioral health and Medicare supplement plans. Health net is also a major sponsor of the March of Dimes and has been since the 80s. Health Net of Arizona received a B+ rating from A.M. Best.
Health Plan of Nevada: Health Plan of Nevada is a localized health care provider which offers POS, PPO and HMO plans. What they are most noted for is the fact that they are the oldest HMO in the state. There are a variety of plan options to choose from, as well as an optional dental plan. This allows individuals to find exactly what they are looking for. Health Plan of Nevada is a United Healthcare company. A.M. Best gave Health Plan of Nevada an A- or excellent rating.
Oxford Health Insurance Inc.: Oxford Health Insurance Inc. is one of the healthcare services companies that falls under the umbrella of United Health Group. Oxford offers a variety of benefits to its clients including top doctors, disease management, discounts, a rewards program and much more. Oxford Health Insurance was given an excellent A- rating by A.M. Best.
LifeWise Health Plan of Arizona: LifeWise Health Plan of Arizona is a part of the LifeWise group which has a customer base of about 1.5 million. They have however decided to leave the Arizona marketplace. An agreement is in place with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona in order to help facilitate the changeover. LifeWise Health Plan of Arizona receives a B+ or good rating from A. M. Best
LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon: LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon is one of the stronger divisions of LifeWise and offers a variety of plans to meet the needs of Oregon residents. They have individual, family, small group and large group health insurance plans. Vision, dental plans, HSAs, Medicare supplements and much more are also available. LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon gets an A- from A.M. Best for strength and stability.
LifeWise Health Plan of Washington: LifeWise Health Plan of Washington offers multiple different plans for individuals, families and groups. The choices you are given allow you to choose basic or comprehensive coverage or somewhere in between. HSAs, dental plans and much more are available. It also has special options available to Clark County employers. LifeWise Health Plan of Washington has a B++ rating from A.M. Best.
Asuris Northwest Health: Asuris Northwest Health is a non-profit health insurance company based in Washington state. The company is, however, owned by Regence, which is the largest health care plan affiliation in that part of the country. This gives Asuris bargaining power similar to one of the bigger companies when it comes to keeping rates reasonable. They have been in business for almost 60 years. Asuris Northwest Health has an A- rating from A.M. Best.
AvMed: AvMed is a company that has been serving the Sunshine State for almost 40 years. Based in Miami, Florida, AvMed offers a variety of plans including HSAs, PPOs, and POSs to individuals and groups. They also have Medicare Advantage plans for senior citizens and dental plans. Despite being a local state company they have over 240,000 members. AvMed received a B++ or Good rating from A.M. Best. The company has also been distinguished as the health insurance company that offers the best customer service in Florida.
The previously discussed health insurance companies are some of the top health care companies in the United States. All of these insurers are ranked as excellent by AM Best and this means that they are viewed as being in excellent financial position by this independent auditor. Through the use of information technology, partnerships, community events and diversity programs, these insurance companies have established themselves as the top tier health benefits companies in America.
However, if you plan to enroll with any of these insurance companies it’s important to shop around and see which one is best for you. Use our free health insurance quote finder to compare the top insurance companies offering coverage in your home zip code!
Use our free quote finder to get started comparing health insurance companies now!