Which are the best health insurance companies in the United States? It’s hard to know how to even begin sorting through the multiple options when your employer offers a choice of health plans, or you need to select a private health insurance policy.
We’ve done some of the legwork for you by examining which health insurance companies in the U.S. are ranked highest on such factors as prevention, treatment, and customer satisfaction. We selected nine companies with a wide range of available products, including national providers and a few highly-rated regional companies.
To find the best policies for you and your family, you can enter your zip code and other information at the company’s websites. You will be directed to the policies available in your area that are appropriate for your circumstances, at which point you can compare local physician, hospital, and pharmacy choices. You can also find the combination of premium, deductible, and other out-of-pocket expenses that is the best option for you.
Best Health Insurance Companies
- Best for Medicare Advantage: Aetna
- Best for Nationwide Coverage: Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Best for Global Coverage: Cigna
- Best for Umbrella Coverage: Humana
- Best for HMOs: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan
- Best for the Tech Savvy: United Healthcare
- Best for the Midwest: HealthPartners
- Best for New England: Harvard Pilgrim
- Best for New York: Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan
BEST FOR MEDICARE ADVANTAGE
An impressive 36 Aetna Medicare Advantage plans sold in 30 states, plus the District of Columbia, received top NCQA ratings (4.0 or greater) in 2021, with Connecticut and Maine being standouts.1 In 2020, Aetna Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans were made available in 264 new counties across the country, providing millions more Medicare beneficiaries access to an Aetna plan.
The insurer also sells Medicare supplement plans (Medigap) in all 50 states. In addition to these, they also offer a combination dental, vision, and hearing supplemental Medicare product in many states.
In the private arena, Aetna is a large provider of employer-based health insurance. A total of five Aetna plans serving Iowa, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Rhode Island made the top NCQA ranks in 2022, and the 2022 J.D. Power U.S. Commercial Health Plan Study ranked Aetna plans second-highest in Ohio and Texas.12 In addition, Aetna’s pricing seems to be lower than many competitors’ pricing.
In November 2018, Aetna became part of CVS Health Company, and synergies between the two are beginning to emerge. For example, Aetna medical plan subscribers with high blood pressure can get a free home monitor at CVS. Chronic disease monitoring may also be available at CVS stores.
BEST FOR NATIONWIDE COVERAGE
Blue Cross Blue Shield
One out of three Americans has health coverage from Blue Cross Blue Shield. The names on various state plans include Anthem, CareFirst, Highmark, Independence, and Wellmark, but the 34 independent and locally operated Blue Cross Blue Shield companies open doors in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. Nationwide, more than 1.7 million doctors and hospitals contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield companies—more than any other insurer, according to the company.
In 2022, 57 Blue Cross Blue Shield company plans earned moderate to high ratings from NCQA based on clinical quality and member satisfaction.1 In 2019, many Anthem plans—including some with lower overall ratings—scored impressively in areas related to customer satisfaction. Blue Cross Blue Shield offers employer insurance, individual policies on healthcare.gov, and a variety of Medicare plans (Medigap, Prescription Drugs Part D, and Medicare Advantage).
BEST FOR GLOBAL COVERAGE
It’s not surprising that a company that sells a product called Global Health Advantage would lead our list for international coverage. This global health service company has 17 million medical customers worldwide served by a global network of 1.5 million healthcare professionals with access to doctors in 200+ countries.
It has more than 70,000 employees. Cigna followed on the heels of Aetna and CVS Health in 2018 by partnering with Express Scripts, the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit manager, in a deal aimed at lowering costs and improving care.
In the U.S., five Cigna plans received a four-star rating in 2022.1 However, Cigna was a top performer in customer satisfaction in Illinois/Indiana, Virginia, New Jersey, and Ohio in the 2021 U.S. Commercial Member Health Plan Study by J.D. Power, it was ranked among the worst in its industry for member satisfaction by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) in 2021.24
Cigna sells medical plans in 13 states and dental plans in all 49, plus D.C. It sells individual plans on healthcare.gov in 313 counties across 13 states. Cigna also expanded its Medicare Advantage plans in 2021 to reach a total of 477 counties across 26 states (plus D.C.), adding coverage in three new states for 2022.
BEST FOR UMBRELLA COVERAGE
Health insurance policies don’t usually cover such expenses as eyeglasses and contacts; or dental exams, crowns, and appliances. Humana, a broad-based health and well-being company, sells private policies in all these areas, and the company has a range of plans for people living with chronic conditions that include transitions from a hospital stay to home care and meal delivery.
Humana is also among the companies that offer special needs policies for people with a severe or disabling chronic condition or living in a long-term care facility. As of 2022, Humana no longer offers individual medical plans but focuses on healthcare solutions for employers and offers Medicare plans.
Twenty-four Humana plans received a four-star or better rating from the NCQA in 2022.1 Humana led the pack for customer satisfaction among health insurers in 2020, according to data from the ACSI survey.4 Humana’s policies for HMOs are relatively affordable.
BEST FOR HMOS
The nonprofit insurer Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc—part of Kaiser Permanente—won stellar ratings for private insurance, with one plan (Mid-Atlantic States) getting a top overall NCQA score of 5.0 and seven other plans, ranging from Georgia to California, winning 4.0 to 4.5 rating.1
In the Medicare Advantage arena, Kaiser was also a winner with eight plans in the very top echelons. The company operates in eight states (California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, Washington) and Washington, D.C.
All of Kaiser’s highly rated private and Medicare Advantage plans are HMOs (except for one plan in Washington state). This is good news for those needing budget health insurance because HMOs have lower premiums, no deductibles, and lower copays and prescription drug costs.
The downside to an HMO is the stipulation that—except in emergencies—you must use only doctors, hospitals, and other services that are in the network. The plans do, however, deliver the same essential goods as a PPO plan. Kaiser’s policies have relatively low premiums.
Want to track your health on an Apple Watch? File claims, set up doctor appointments, and find doctors online? United Healthcare’s 2019 Annual Survey found that 37% of consumers shop for health care on a computer or with mobile apps.5 The company is pushing “consumer-driven digital health care,” which includes wearable technology for glucose management, smart baby monitors for high-risk infants, and activity trackers that allow fitness participants to win monetary awards.
Two private United Healthcare plans (one in Rhode Island, the other in Minnesota) scored an impressive 4.5, while nine plans in D.C. and seven states (North and South Dakota, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, and Wisconsin) scored 4.0 in overall NCQA ratings. An impressive 29 of its Medicare Advantage plans were highly rated, including several sold under the name Sierra Health and Life Insurance Company, Inc.1
United offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. It contracts directly with more than 1.3 million physicians and care professionals as well as 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. Both HMO and PPO plans are available with access to health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs). Its policies may cost a bit more than some of its competitors, but it may be worth it for the extra features.
Under the names Group Health Plan, Inc and HealthPartners Insurance Company, this company sells plans in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. All three of its private plans garnered 4.5 overall scores from NCQA.1 Those who have diabetes may like this plan, as one of HealthPartners’ promises to consumers is to provide monthly insulin supplies for no more than $25.
Overall, the company offers three separate plans in Minnesota and two separate plans in Wisconsin, depending on where you live and your specific coverage needs. Those living in the HealthPartners Insurance area of Minnesota have the most options available.
This New England not-for-profit company has 4.5-rated plans in two states (Maine, and Massachusetts) and a 4.0-rated plan in New Hampshire.1 The Harvard Pilgrim Passport and Access America plans are offered jointly by Harvard Pilgrim and UnitedHealthcare, allowing members access to a gigantic network of doctors nationwide, thousands of hospitals, and flexible health benefits.
Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan
This physician-directed health plan has some of the highest-rated plans in the business. Their private plan scored a 5.0 overall score from NCQA and was one of only eight private plans nationally to achieve a perfect score in consumer satisfaction. CDPHP’s Medicare and Medicaid plans were also high scorers, coming in at 4.5 stars. The plans are available in 29 of New York’s 62 counties. The company notes that eight out of its 15 board members are physicians.