Best Health Insurance Companies
These days, health insurance is a hot political topic. Between healthcare reform and the new state regulations, it can be quite challenging to navigate through the political jargon. Around 31 million people were underinsured in 2014 but, regardless of the roadblocks, health insurance companies still remain a necessity in this day and age. When reviewing a health insurance company, pay attention to things like deductibles, co-pays, conditions covered, and customer service responsiveness. Also, don't forget to heed the health insurance company's financial rating, depth of coverage, and website's user-friendliness as these are going to be important factors for most people needing insurance.
Health Insurance: What to Consider
You should learn the basics of health insurance before reading a review of insurance companies. Policies and coverage types generally vary by insurer, region and medical condition. Below are some terms with which you should become familiar as you read this review:
Health insurance deductible - Simply put, a deductible is money you spend out of pocket before the insurance company kicks in and reimburses you for expenses such as hospital visits, prescriptions and other routine costs. With a high deductible, you will enjoy a lower premium, but you will share more of the burden if you have to visit the doctor or hospital, at least at first. Be careful when looking at the deductible as there are many things to consider such as how often you visit the doctor, how big your family is and how many, if any, prescriptions you have. Not only that, if you don't have an emergency fund, you may want to shy away from high deductibles as one incident can put a huge dent in your personal finances.
Family healthcare insurance - With family healthcare insurance, you and your family will enjoy coverage. It's possible to have coverage via private health insurance or employee-sponsored programs. Married people who both have health insurance plans through their employers should look at their respective plans as it may be better to go with one plan over another as some family plans are great, while others offer very little.
Employer health insurance - If you have a typical 9-5 job, you can usually get employer health insurance. Usually, premiums are affordable as the company negotiates rates, and you can have money taken out of your check every pay period. When employed and provided health insurance, one should be careful as sometimes the coverage is minimal, and it might be wise to look at supplemental insurance.
Universal health insurance - In many countries, people have universal health insurance, which means they are covered in case anything happens. While not so simple, that is the basic idea as people with universal health insurance usually avoid financial turmoil when sick or injured, no matter how seriously. While universal healthcare covers everyone, some people may want more if they are looking to have certain elective surgeries as some countries only cover the basics.
A Note on Health Insurance Exchanges
With the rollout of the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") health insurance exchanges, your choices may vary based on the state you reside in. With that being said, it's important to check the limitations in your state before electing to purchase additional coverage.
Among our list of the top rated health insurance companies is Humana, Assurant, and Kaiser Permanente. Review these and all providers based on the aforementioned criteria. For additional information, have a look through the articles about health insurance companies to see if you can find a solution that meets you and your family's needs.
Best Health Insurance Providers
Humana Health Insurance
- High BBB rating
- Trusted reputation
- 24/7 customer service
- Easy site navigation
- Plenty of information about health insurance
- No customer service chat support
If you live a healthy lifestyle, Humana should be on your short list of companies to check out. With Humana, you can connect with the company 24/7 via phone, chat and email. If you want to learn how to eat better or how to prevent common illnesses, Humana is the company for you as it provides plenty of resources for its patients. If you love technology and don't like waiting on the phone and want access at your fingertips, you are in luck as the company has the Humana App, which allows you to get in contact, check out your health information and even verify information or set appointments. Currently, the only downside is that Humana is not available everywhere as it's only available in 22 states. But, don't worry, you have other solid options if Humana isn't in your area.
Aetna Health Insurance
- Affordable premiums
- Wide range of plans
- Live chat features
- Good customer service
- No short term plans
There are some insurance companies that are less than a decade old, and that can be scary when you are talking about your health and well-being. With Aetna, there is nothing to fear as the company has been around since 1890, so it knows a two or thing about providing quality service to a variety of clients. They are one of the more inexpensive providers, but there is nothing to worry about as it still provides affordable prices, solid service and years of experience. The only downside is that there are not a lot of plans for people over 55, but if you are young and healthy, you can get a quality plan for a much lower price than when compared to the competition.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Insurance
- Online account management
- 24/7 customer service
- Some states with high BBB
- Affordable premiums; acceptable value for price
- Claims processing is fast
- Premiums can be high, depending on location and health
- Each member organization is independent; inconsistent products/service
After its 1982 merger with the Blue Cross Association, Blue Cross Shield has become a force to be reckon with, and over 100 million satisfied clients can't be wrong. While there are some companies out there that cater to specific needs and wants, Blue Cross Blue Shield is not one of them as it provides service to nearly everyone in need. Whether you are over 55 and looking for a plan or young and with children, you will not have a hard time finding a well-priced plan that covers you and your family. With a great website, along with an FAQ that gives you all the information you would ever need, you can see why Blue Cross Blue Shield is ideal if you want an affordable plan but don't want to skimp on service or quality.
UnitedHealthcare Health Insurance
- Good Customer Service
- Excellent informational resources
- Easy sign up and quotes
- No live chat option
With 70 million clients, the company has obviously done something right over the years. The provider claims that it offers a simpler solution for clients. While a big claim, it's pretty easy to see why United Healthcare is so confident. Much like with Humana, United Healthcare tries to take a proactive approach and teach its patients how to live longer, happier and higher quality lives. By providing information on how to eat healthier and exercise, United Healthcare does two things; it saves money for its customers who don't need to spend money on even more healthcare; it also helps clients live a higher quality of life. Combined with top-notch customer service and easy to understand plans, and United Healthcare is the best option for a lot of people.
Kaiser Permanente Health Insurance
- Online account management
- Excellent customer service
- Fast claims processing
- Variety of medical care provided
- Strong financial rating
- Not available in all 50 states
- Plan prices are high
- No short-term plans available
If you are in the hunt for a short-term plan, Kaiser Permanente is not the company you should pick. On the other hand, if you are looking to develop a decent and long-term relationship with a provider, Kaiser Permanente is a great choice. As its a provider that works with people to develop a plan. For starters, when you are signing up for plans or just browsing, if you need help at any moment, all you have to do is click the live chat button. With plenty of self-service options, you can take care of minor issues over the Internet or though automated phone. Don't worry; customer service reps are around 24/7 to help you with any serious issues. Again, if you are looking to get a plan, whether basic or more in-depth, you can't go wrong with this well-known and respected name.
Health Insurance Advice
While there are a lot of good companies out there, it's still hard to find the right health insurance advice as it's complicated and ever-changing. But, there are ways you can make the process easier, less costly and more effective for your life.
- How can you make healthy living cheaper? With regards to health, the best defense is a good offense, and you can save a lot of money, not to mention avoid painful hospital visits, if you take a proactive approach to your health and wellbeing. For starters, you should know that a good diet is your ally. By filling up on vegetables and healthy grains, along with sparse servings of meat, you can keep your weight and cholesterol in check. If you can, you should start eating organic, real food that your grandparents ate, you can avoid many long-term health problems. However, fitness is important too, and there plenty of apps to check out if you want to track your progress. With apps like Couch 2 5K, you can get the motivation needed to start running. If you aren't a runner, there are apps that will track other aspects of your fitness such as a pedometer for hiking. There are other less high-tech options, and you can sign up for free fitness classes in your area. With a one-two punch, you can save money on insurance and avoid the doctor.
- How can you save money on health insurance?If you have a family, or you are just taking care of yourself, you, no doubt, want to save on insurance. One way to save some cash is to use a health savings account, or HSA. Much like a retirement account, an HSA allows you to contribute pre-tax dollars into it. Then, you can use the money to pay for anything from medicine to routine surgical procedures. To qualify, you must have a high deductible plan,which is $1,250 for a person and $2,500 for a family. If you are interested, you should consult your HR department to get started. Or, if you are self-employed, you can contact your insurance company directly. You must know that if you don't use it, you can lose the money in the HSA, so it's wise to plan accordingly. Though, if you anticipate having any leftover money, you can buy medicine that you or your family will need in the near future.
By taking a step back, you can learn how to save money on health insurance. There are a few considerations to take into account, but you must think of your own situation. For starters, a high deductible plan, as mentioned, will cost less. But, it may cost you more in the end if you require a lot of care. Other times, one will select a plan, and then they will realize that the doctor they want or use in not in the network. So, before signing up, make sure to verify that you can use your doctor. Finally, don't forget to make sure what you want is covered. For example, if you use a chiropractor often or require specialized care, you should, again, verify that you will have this covered. Otherwise, if you shop for the cheapest plan or don't look based on your exact needs, you are going to overspend and miss out. There are other things to look out for in a plan such as the reputation of the provider and the facilities, but with enough research, you won't go wrong.
While extremely complicated, you should also understand all your rights such as right to coverage if you lose your job and what's covered. By knowing this and knowing the differences in plans, you can avoid getting taken advantage of or losing a lot of money. Remember, you must flex your rights. At the same time, you must know and understand that laws are fluid, and they can vary greatly from state to state.
When shopping for health insurance, you have some responsibility to limit access to your personal information, and this is why you don't want to sign up for any medical coverage plan out there. Be cautious in your selection and carefully screen companies and plans in which you want to enroll. The most reputable health insurance companies typically have impeccable customer service, lots of good information on their website, and various products and services to help you manage your health more effectively.