The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 requires most U.S. adults to purchase health insurance. Health insurance is important because it can cover the costs of an unexpected accident, illness, or any routine medical care. And if more people decide to stay uninsured, the overall cost of health insurance will rise.
For some, health insurance might seem like a luxury. Plans can be expensive and difficult to understand. To help you find the best health insurance company to choose this year, we’ve analyzed some of the top networks in the United States.
Read on for our breakdown of these seven choices.
As we researched health insurance companies, we took a few key factors into account:
- Affordability. The cost of a monthly premium will vary based on your location, plan, and whether you’re covered by your employer. We still tried to find options that can fit every budget, though.
- Benefits. Benefits are additional services covered by health insurance, such as dental or vision care.
- Customer ratings and reviews. Finally, we combed through customer ratings and reviews to make sure we only recommended highly rated companies.
Best customer service
As one of the nation’s oldest health insurance companies, Aetna insures consumers for health, dental, and vision care. Part of CVS Health, they have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
You get convenient walk-in care options by choosing Aetna, which is available across the country. By purchasing an Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace insurance plan, you receive access to telehealth services, $0 MinuteClinic visits, free screenings, preventive care, and more.
Aetna is also known for their Medicare and Medicaid plans available in all 50 states. With Medicare and Medicaid, you’ll receive all the benefits and services originally offered by Medicare, plus extras like a fitness benefit, dental, vision, or hearing care.
Best overall customer satisfaction
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) is a widely used health insurance provider available in all 50 states. They’ve been serving people in the United States for more than 90 years.
BCBS offers corporate health insurance, individual health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, dental insurance, and more. Over 1.7 million doctors and hospitals are in network with BCBS. Many plans include the Blue365 program for Medicare members, which provides discounts on health- and wellness-related products and services.
Other plans come with benefits such as:
- fitness discounts
- over-the-counter medication management
While BCBS is a widely trusted insurance company, if you’re looking to purchase a premium, you may have to do some extra work up front. BCBS consists of 35 separate companies that are locally operated, meaning it will take some research to find the plans that apply to you.
Best for pharmacy programs
Although not available in every state, Cigna offers health insurance that may be more affordable than others on our list. The network also includes impressive pharmacy programs, making it an especially good option for people with regular prescriptions for medications.
With standalone drug plans that work alongside Medicare and over 67,000 contracted pharmacies, Cigna is an excellent choice for pharmacy programs. You can also receive home delivery with Express Scripts Pharmacy, or connect with a licensed pharmacist whenever you have questions about your medication.
Cigna also offers health insurance for U.S. emigrants living abroad. Plus, with the myCigna website and accompanying mobile app, it’s fast and simple to manage health goals, appointment reminders, and claims.
With that being said, Cigna only offers individual and family health insurance plans in the following states:
- North Carolina
Best benefits available
United Healthcare, also called United, offers individual and family health insurance plans in 18 states. Customers love the extra programs and tools that are available, such as virtual visits, mental health care, rewards programs, house calls, and more.
United provides health insurance plans that include dental, vision, and health. Medicare, Medicaid, short-term insurance, and small business plans are also available.
Individual plans from United can often be more expensive than plans from other companies. However, many resources are available for people who are able to get insured by United.
Individual and family plans are also only available in 18 states:
- New York
- North Carolina
Best for dental benefits
Owned by managed care company Centene Corporation, Ambetter provides affordable health insurance marketplace plans.
Ambetter Health Insurance offers three main healthcare plans: Ambetter Essential Care (bronze), Ambetter Balanced Care (silver), and Ambetter Secure Care (gold).
Other healthcare plans available are:
- Ambetter Select Plans. Only available in select counties in Florida and Georgia, the select plans offer a low monthly premium and a selective network of providers and hospitals.
- Ambetter Value Plans. Available in select counties in Florida, Nevada, and Texas, the lowest priced premium plans available by Ambetter have specific healthcare professionals and hospitals. They also require referrals to see a specialist.
- Ambetter Virtual Access Plans. These plans are available in Michigan, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas. Powered by Teladoc, they provide full virtual primary care with a $0 copay.
The cost and other details of each plan will vary depending on your location. Ambetter is available in 26 states:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Ambetter is a great choice if you’re looking for good dental and vision benefits. With some Ambetter plans, your dental program could cost as little as $12 per month. Dental plans are available in all Ambetter markets except Washington, New Mexico, and New Jersey.
The dental plans include preventive and diagnostic dental, basic dental care, and major dental care.
Best for Medicare coverage
If you’re looking for Medicare, Humana is a great option for Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, or a simple standalone prescription drug plan.
Humana Medicare plans are available in every state, while Medicare Advantage is available in most counties. Although not every Medicare Advantage plan includes prescription drug coverage, you can purchase a standalone prescription drug plan or opt for the expanded coverage plans available through Walgreens and Walmart.
You can also enjoy the SilverSneakers program, which offers access to 15,000 gyms and fitness centers across the country. Humana is also known for their Humana Pharmacy mail order prescription options.
Best for low cost options
As the largest nonprofit health insurance company, Kaiser is a managed care organization that offers individual and family plans as well as Medicare and Medicaid.
If you’re eligible, you can also receive extra benefits with certain plans — things like an exercise program, help with glasses and hearing aids, and an over-the-counter allowance.
Kaiser Permanente also offers charitable health coverage (CHC) if you don’t qualify for public or private coverage. In order to receive CHC, you have to meet certain requirements, such as living in an area that Kaiser Permanente serves and falling below the federal poverty line.
Additionally, if you’re losing coverage soon, the company can help you find personalized recommendations. Some of the qualifying life events include losing job-related coverage, losing coverage on your parent’s plan, and getting divorced. Certain situations may even qualify for financial help that can make costs more affordable.
The majority of U.S. residents cannot access this health insurance option. It is available in:
- Washington, D.C.
Health insurance is an important choice to make, and there are a few key factors to consider when shopping around for a plan.
First, consider affordability. When you decide on a health insurance provider, your monthly premium will stay the same month-to-month regardless of whether you receive medical care. Your out-of-pocket costs will vary when you receive care.
Next, consider the type of health insurance plans offered by a certain insurance company. There are four primary types of Marketplace plans: EPO, HMO, POS, and PPO.
With some plans, medical services will only be covered if you use medical providers that are in network. In other cases, you can use out-of-network care if you pay more. Consider what type of plan would be best for you and whether a given company offers that kind of plan.
Also do some research on what kind of benefits the company provides. Some health insurance plans offer dental and vision benefits. Preventive care and prescriptions are also important to look into.
Customer reviews and ratings should play a role in your decision, as well as what kind of customer service the company offers. And of course, you’ll need to choose an insurance company that provides coverage in the state where you live.