Comparison of Health Insurance Companies

There are many different health insurance companies in the United States that offer comprehensive major medical health insurance plans. How do you go about choosing which health insurance company and plan is the best option for your particular situation? What are some of the things that you should concentrate on as you evaluate the different companies’ health insurance quotes?

There are some very important factors to keep in mind as you shop for health insurance. Let’s review some of the more popular health insurance companies, and see if we can find their strengths and weaknesses in key areas like claims handling, customer service, financial strength ratings (from AM Best - an independent organization that rates the financial strength of insurance companies), network size, product line, company image, and more.

Here are some of the most well-known health insurance companies in the United States:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield
AM Best Rating: "A" (Anthem BCBS), "A" (Wellmark BCBS), "A-" (BCBS of Michigan)

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield name seems to be synonymous with health care in the US. BCBS has arguably one of the strongest and most recognizable brand names and is trusted in many communities across the country. While no one would argue the strength of the BCBS name there is one thing that many people do not realize: Blue Cross Blue Shield is not a true nationwide company. This is evidenced by the AM Best ratings shown above. There is more than one rating because there are in reality many different Blue Cross Blue Shields (3 are mentioned above with their respective AM Best ratings).

The BCBS network of companies is actually a consortium of smaller insurance companies that pay a licensing fee to use the BCBS name. For instance, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois is totally different from Blue Cross Blue Shield of California. So while the Blue Cross name is very strong and trusted this fragmenting issue does pose some concern to some.

Some might find that their experience with Blue Cross in one area of the country is dramatically different from another person’s experience with Blue Cross in another area of the country – and this is understandable because in all likelihood they are dealing with two separate and distinct entities. All in all, Blue Cross and Blue Shield is a very strong and trusted company that many Americans can trust with their health care needs.

United Healthcare
AM Best Rating: "A"

United Healthcare has arguably one of the biggest networks in all of the United States. United Healthcare is a very strong and financially sound health insurance company with comprehensive health insurance plans for groups, individuals, families, and the self-employed.

United Healthcare operates in the individual health insurance market in certain states under the name of PacifiCare, or Golden Rule, or American Medical Security (all of these plans still have access to the enormous UHC network).

It is worth mentioning that Golden Rule is thought of to be a pioneer in heavily developing and marketing the health savings account plans (plans with generally higher deductibles, lower premiums, and some very attractive tax benefits).

United Healthcare is a very strong choice for those looking for an individual health insurance plan or a group health insurance plans because of UHC’s strong AM Best financial strength rating, network size, and comprehensive and affordable health insurance plans and employee benefits.

AM Best Rating: "A"

Aetna insurance company is also a very large and dependable health insurance company. Aetna provides benefits through employers in all 50 states and provides individual health insurance plans, disability benefits, dental benefits, and Medicare benefits in many states. Aetna is also the first nationwide, full service health insurer to offer a consumer-directed health plan.

Aetna has very strong financial strength ratings by AM Best and has also been mentioned in Fortune magazine’s list of “Most Admired Companies” in the health care category.

Aetna leads the way in many important cutting edge initiatives that include preventative benefits coverage, increased care for children and infants, and comprehensive dental insurance coverage. Many individuals, families, and businesses (both small and large) have found excellent health care coverage at an affordable price from Aetna.

Humana One
AM Best Rating: "A-"

Humana One insurance company offers benefits in 26 states (as of 2007) and is predominant in the southeast in the individual health insurance market. Those interested in researching Humana One will be pleased to know that Humana One offers very attractive wellness benefits and even special discounts for those with pre-existing conditions who choose to apply for a plan with a deductible of $2500 or higher (in certain areas they offer more lenient underwriting for minor pre-existing conditions such as asthma, arthritis, etc.)

Demonstrating their commitment to preventative benefits; Humana One has also been in partnership with Virgin health clubs and centers to give members on select plans a discount on their gym membership.

United American
AM Best Rating: "A+"

United American is an indemnity insurance company that does not offer true major medical comprehensive health insurance coverage but rather offers very affordable health plans that pay on a “stated benefit” schedule.

Although United American’s plans have limits in the policies that are less than a regular major medical health insurance plan these plans are very popular with those who are unable to obtain another form of coverage or for those who are extremely budget conscious. United American Insurance Company has excellent financial strength ratings by AM Best.

Be sure that you do your research and be an educated health insurance shopper so that you can find the most affordable and comprehensive health insurance plan. Take a few moments and request free health insurance quotes so that you can be sure to save both time and money in your health insurance search! For your free quote, click here.