How to Pick the Best Health Insurance Company
Choosing a health insurance company is a top priority for your family. Your family’s health is too important a matter to leave it to chance. Here’s a brief overview of a few of the top health insurers on the market along with a run-down of things to consider when choosing your health insurer.
Kaiser Permanente won the J.D. Power award in the 2017 Medicare Advantage Study, scoring 5 out of 5 stars in every category; overall satisfaction, information and communication, provider choice, customer service, cost and coverage benefits. With so much going for Kaiser Permanente, it is easy to see why this company should be a top contender when it comes to choosing a health insurer. To receive coverage from Kaiser Permanente, you must live or work in one of the service areas: Northern California, Southern California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Mid- Atlantic States (District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia) and Northwest (Oregon and Washington).
Blue Cross/Blue Shield also received a 95 out of 100 score in customer service and was the top ranked insurer in overall customer satisfaction from the Insure.com rankings. Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBSA) has more than 30 separate health insurance organizations located across the United States and it is easy to find health care providers who accept Blue Cross and have it as a preferred provider choice no matter where in the U.S. you are located.
J.D. Power & Associates gave Highmark 4 out of 5 stars for customer satisfaction in claims handling. Insure.com also gave Highmark a 4.5 out of 5 star rating in claims handling. Highmark actually operates as a part of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield family and is a large regional health insurer in the Eastern United States. The company has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau. Health plans are offered in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia serving more than 5 million members.
Humana Insurance Company received 4.5 out of 5 stars in Insure.com rankings in the cost category based on the results of customer satisfaction surveys. Humana also score 4.5 out of 5 stars from Insure.com in the categories of value for price and claims services. Humana provides health plans throughout the Unites states and has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau. Humana offers a broad choice of policy options with competitive pricing for health insurance products including individual health plans, Medicare supplement plans and group health insurance plans.
What Type of Health Insurance Do You Need?
Keeping your health insurance premium low is important, but it should not be the only thing you consider when looking to buy a health insurance policy. You want to look at the quality of coverage you are getting for your money. In other words, does the policy you are buying adequately cover medical expenses you may incur? If you have a family member with a medical problem or chronic illness, you need to check into the company’s policy regarding pre-existing conditions.
You should also find out if you will be able to use the provider of your choice or if you will have to use a healthcare facility or doctor within the company’s preferred provider network. This will probably depend on the policy you choose. With some policies, you can choose your provider, but these premiums are often more expensive. If you buy a plan using an HMO or PPO, your premiums will cost you much less.
Look into the policy terms or ask your insurance agent if there are certain medical procedures that are not covered or are covered for a lesser amount. Be aware that charges for cancer care, cosmetic procedures, infertility treatments and prescription medications that are part of drug trials are likely not covered in your health insurance policy. Many times there are supplemental policies you can purchase to cover these charges. Ask your insurance agent to go into further detail if you are in doubt about whether a charge will be covered.
What Is Your Budget?
While you want the best health care coverage possible, you also need health insurance options that will fit within your budget. Look for a company that offers its customers many different policy options. You can often get basic health insurance to cover the most essential medical needs even if you are on a very low budget. Keeping a higher deductible will also lower your health insurance premium. As your budget increases, you can add options or change your policy to cover more of your health insurance costs. You can do this by changing your plan or by choosing a lower deductible. The best health insurance companies offer a wide range of plans to fit all types of family situations and budgets.
There are several health insurance comparison sites that can help you find a health insurer that is conveniently located and offers the best health insurance options based on your health needs and budget. It is easier to compare “apples to apples” if you can look at a side-by-side comparison. Here are a few tools to get you started: Plan Finder from Healthcare.gov, the eHealth comparison tool, QuoteWizard or Insurance.com.