Kaiser Permanente Insurance Review

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Kaiser Permanente is a not-for-profit health plan. Kaiser Permanente offers both health insurance and health care, which has resulted in excellent reviews from customers and rating organizations. Kaiser Permanente does have limited service areas, and you typically need to stay in-network for services unless you’re experiencing an emergency.

Best For

  • People in Kaiser Permanente service areas
  • People who don’t mind managed care
  • People who like to manage their care online

Pros

  • Many services available in one location
  • Ability to make appointments online or using an app
  • Good customer service

Cons

  • Limited service area
  • Need to stay in the Kaiser Permanente network for most services
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Is Kaiser Permanente Insurance Good?

Kaiser Permanente Insurance is a good option. In reality, Kaiser Permanente is not just a health insurance company. It is a managed care organization from which you can purchase a health insurance policy. It is the largest managed care organization in the U.S. with more than 8 million policies written, 37 medical centers and over 600 medical offices. You can find care with the more than 14,000 physicians in the Kaiser Permanente network.

Kaiser Permanente Insurance Products

Some insurance companies offer multiple lines of insurance. Kaiser Permanente focuses exclusively on offering affordable health insurance. Kaiser Permanente has health insurance plans in the following areas:

  • Northern California. Kaiser has health care providers in many areas, including Fresno, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz. 
  • Southern California. You can find Kaiser health providers in Kern County, the greater Los Angeles area, Orange County, San Diego County and more. 
  • Washington State. Kaiser has providers throughout the state. 
  • Colorado. You can find Kaiser providers and plans in most of Colorado’s major cities, including Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs and Eagle. 
  • Georgia. Kaiser is available in Atlanta and Athens. 
  • Hawaii. You can find Kaiser providers and plans on the Island of Hawaii and in Kauai, Maui and Oahu. 
  • Mid-Atlantic Regions. Kaiser is available in Baltimore, Washington D.C. and its Maryland suburbs and Northern Virginia.
  • Oregon. You can join Kaiser plans in Portland, Eugene and Salem. 

Available Discounts and Tips on Getting the Best Rates

The process of how to get health insurance can be confusing. Plans have various enrollment periods. You can buy health insurance through your state marketplace during open enrollment, which starts in November and lasts for about 1 month.

If you missed open enrollment, you might still be able to enroll in a plan if you experienced a significant life event. These include:

  • Losing other health insurance
  • Getting married
  • Having a baby 

Kaiser Permanente, like most health insurance plans, doesn’t offer discounts. To get the best rate on a plan, consider applying through your state’s health insurance marketplace.

Why? When you apply for health insurance through your state, you answer questions about your household size and income. This helps your state determine whether you qualify for any premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions. 

The Premium Tax Credit

To qualify for a premium tax credit, your household income must be 100% to 400% of the federal poverty level for your family size. If your income is below 100% of the federal poverty level, you may qualify for your state’s Medicaid program. In 2020, the federal poverty line for all states except Alaska and Hawaii was $26,200 in annual income for a family of 4.

The premium tax credit lowers your monthly premiums for Kaiser Permanente plans and other plans sold through the marketplace. The IRS can send your tax credit to your insurance company.

Depending on your income, you may also qualify for cost-sharing reductions. These reductions lower your deductible and copay. This means you pay less out-of-pocket when you receive health care services. 

Kaiser Permanente Coverage Options

Kaiser Permanente offers a range of health care plans to meet different needs. These include:

  • Individual and family plans. These plans can be purchased directly from Kaiser or through your state’s health insurance marketplace. 
  • Medicare plans. Kaiser offers Medicare Advantage plans. These plans work with Medicare to provide your health care. These plans cover doctor visits, hospital services and prescriptions. Medicare has rated Kaiser’s Medicare plans 5 out of 5 stars. 
  • Medicaid plans. Depending on your state, you may be able to receive your Medicaid services through a Kaiser Permanente health plan. 
  • Employer-sponsored coverage. Many people receive their health insurance through their employers. If you live in a Kaiser service area, check with your employer to see if Kaiser is an option for you. 

Kaiser Permanente Pricing

Kaiser Permanente prices its plans based on several factors. All health insurance plans consider these factors. They include:

  • Age. Older people are more likely to use health care services. Health insurance companies charge higher premiums for older people than younger ones. 
  • Location. Each plan location is different. Every area has different insurance providers and competition. This impacts Kaiser’s premiums. 
  • Tobacco. Health insurance plans may charge more for users who use tobacco products. 
  • The number of plan members. An individual plan costs less than a family plan. 

Exact plans that Kaiser offers vary by location and have the same components as other health insurance plans. Kaiser Permanente’s health insurance plans are available at different price points.

The best health insurance plan depends on your budget and how often you use health care. As you review Kaiser Permanente’s plans, consider:

  • The deductible. Kaiser’s lowest-priced plans have the highest deductibles. This is the amount you pay for covered services before your plan starts coverage. In Southern California, Kaiser Permanente’s HSA Bronze plan has a $6,900 deductible per person ($13,800 per family). Its Deductible Bronze plan has a $6,300 deductible ($12,600 per family). You can see your primary care provider for a $65 copay before you meet the deductible. 
  • The copays. A copay is a flat fee that you pay for a specific service. Prescriptions also usually have a copay. You may have to meet your deductible before the copays apply, but it varies by plan. 
  • The coinsurance. Some of Kaiser Permanente’s plans have coinsurance. Coinsurance is the percentage of the cost of a covered service that you’re responsible for. Instead of a $40 copay to see a primary care provider, for example, you might pay for 40% of the cost of the visit. Coinsurance typically starts after you meet your deductible. 
  • Out-of-pocket maximum. Kaiser’s plans also have an out-of-pocket maximum. This is the most you will pay out-of-pocket for covered services. It includes your deductible, copays and coinsurance. A lower out-of-pocket maximum means a higher monthly premium. 

The best value plan for you depends on your health care needs and preferences. If you like more predictable costs, you might want a plan with a higher premium and a lower deductible. If you want to minimize your monthly premium, choose a plan with a higher deductible. 

Kaiser Permanente Customer Service

Kaiser Permanente has a reputation for good customer service, but it also depends on which region you live in. Its Mid-Atlantic state plans have a 3.5 out of 5 consumer satisfaction rating from NCQA, which is a health insurance rating organization. Its Washington plans have a 1.5 out of 5 consumer satisfaction rating. 

Kaiser Permanente offers extensive resources on its website. You can find doctors, refill prescriptions and schedule appointments. You can also email your doctor via the website.

Each service area also has a dedicated member services number. In most areas, you can reach member services during business hours Monday through Friday. In California, you can reach member services 24/7.

Kaiser Permanente Claims Support

A perk of Kaiser Permanente coverage is the claims process. With most health care plans, you’re trying to get your doctor to bill your health insurance.

With Kaiser, your health insurance and your health care are both coming from Kaiser Permanente. That doesn’t mean things will always go smoothly, but it does increase your chances.

If you need assistance with a bill or claim, you would reach out to member services. It’s essentially one-stop healthcare shopping. 

Kaiser Permanente vs Competitors

Kaiser Permanente is unique in how it combines health insurance with health care. In many areas, you can get care in a Kaiser facility. A Kaiser facility has several different providers and many have an in-house pharmacy. This allows you to get all of your health care needs taken care of in one spot. 

Kaiser typically expects its members to see network providers. If you have a doctor you’re attached to who isn’t in the Kaiser network, you’ll need to either switch providers or choose a different plan. Kaiser is more flexible when it comes to emergencies, but in general, it expects you to see doctors and go to hospitals within the Kaiser network. 

# of Healthcare Providers
150k+
Online Application?
Yes
1 Minute Review

Kaiser Permanente is a not-for-profit health plan. Kaiser Permanente offers both health insurance and health care, which has resulted in excellent reviews from customers and rating organizations. Kaiser Permanente does have limited service areas, and you typically need to stay in-network for services unless you’re experiencing an emergency.

Best For
  • People in Kaiser Permanente service areas
  • People who don’t mind managed care
  • People who like to manage their care online
Pros
  • Many services available in one location
  • Ability to make appointments online or using an app
  • Good customer service
Cons
  • Limited service area
  • Need to stay in the Kaiser Permanente network for most services
# of Healthcare Providers
700k+
Online Application?
Yes
1 Minute Review

In the past, Aetna health insurance plans were available on Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplaces across the country. Though Aetna no longer offers ACA-compliant plans, the company continues to make healthcare more affordable through Medicare Advantage Part D coverage and dental insurance plans.

Aetna’s Medicare options extend to most parts of the country, and premiums for Advantage plans begin at $0 a month. Part D coverage, which helps pay for prescription drugs, begins at about $7 a month in most states. Additionally, Aetna offers dental insurance and dental discount plan options that anyone who doesn’t have dental coverage through their employer can take advantage of. In addition, Aetna also offers a number of additional benefits not seen with other coverage providers, including discounts on prescription drugs and rewards for meeting health goals. 

 

Best For
  • Member support
Pros
  • Offers multiple mobile app offerings to reward you for reaching fitness goals
  • Dental discount plans may include coverage for prescription drugs
  • Medicare Advantage plans available with no monthly premiums
Cons
  • Vision insurance only available when purchased with a dental plan
  • ACA-compliant health insurance no longer available
get started Call Now securely through Blue Cross Blue Shield’s website
# of Healthcare Providers
28k+
Online Application?
Yes
1 Minute Review

Blue Cross Blue Shield consists of 35 separate companies that provide health insurance for roughly one-third of Americans. The company serves all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and many international areas.

While you look into the BCBS affiliates near you, understand what health plans are available as well as the health insurance cost. It offers extensive coverage that gives just about every American the opportunity to purchase a BCBS-affiliated health plan. However, be sure to read up on the company because the premiums and deductibles may not suit you and your circumstances. 

Best For
  • Desire for a new doctor with plenty of options
  • No cap on annual maximum limits
  • Comprehensive coverage with exclusive discounts and partnerships
Pros
  • Coverage in all 50 states and outside the country
  • Covers both generic and brand-name drugs
  • Wide network of doctors, hospitals and specialists
Cons
  • Plans offered through regional companies, meaning you must look to your regional company for specific policies
  • Main customer service helpline may be difficult to reach
# of Healthcare Providers
875k+
Online Application?
Yes
1 Minute Review

Cigna Health Insurance offers low-cost private health insurance and Medicare Advantage and Supplement Plans for families and individuals. Founded in 1982 and based in Bloomfield, Connecticut, the company offers a wide array of health insurance plans including three Bronze plans, four Silver and one Gold. All Cigna plans are EPO plans, meaning they are all in-network. Free telehealth visits come with every plan and are available to customers 24/7.

The four-metal tier coverage plans include:

  • Bronze
  • Expanded bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold

Individual and family Cigna private insurance plans are all available on the Marketplace and through the Cigna website, as well as with licensed agents in each state. Because they are sold through the Marketplace, they can only be purchased during your state’s open enrollment period. Special enrollment periods apply for special circumstances.

Best For
  • Easy access to benefits
  • Pharmacy programs
  • Savings and spending accounts such as HSA and FSA
  • Supplemental plans
Pros
  • Home delivery for prescriptions
  • Health management mobile apps
  • Easy ID card replacement
Cons
  • Potentially high deductibles
  • Not available in all 50 states
get started securely through Mutual of Omaha – Health Insurance’s website
get started Call Now securely through Oscar Health Insurance’s website
# of Healthcare Providers
N/A
Online Application?
N/A
1 Minute Review

Here’s a quick Oscar Health Insurance Review: Oscar Health offers Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) plans. EPOs are similar to Preferred Provider Organization plans, however, if you visit a specialist, doctor, lab, or hospital that’s not in its network, you’ll have to pay 100% of the costs unless it’s an emergency.

Oscar Health Insurance is a relative newcomer to the health insurance scene. It was founded in 2012 and operates in 18 U.S. states. Some of the perks include no-cost virtual care and preventative care visits and financial rewards of up to $100 per year for meeting walking goals. 

The company offers Medicare Advantage Plans, health insurance plans for individuals and families and business health insurance plans, along with a variety of health insurance plans to meet many levels of healthcare requirements. 

Best For
  • Individuals who need basic medical care
  • Free preventive care including annual physicals and most vaccines
  • Virtual medical care visits
Pros
  • Up to $100 per year is available for reaching walking goals
  • No referrals needed for any plan
  • 24/7 doctor on call online visits available
  • Variety of plans to fit any level of healthcare needs or budget
Cons
  • Coverage is only available in 18 states
  • Lower deductible or no deductible plans are expensive
  • No dental or vision coverage
# of Healthcare Providers
855k+
Online Application?
Yes
1 Minute Review

UnitedHealthcare is an insurance company that is dedicated to making the health care system work better for everyone. Its plans can serve customers of all ages, starting in childhood and continuing all the way through the retirement years. The company partners with more than 1.3 million health care professionals and over 6,500 hospitals to give customers the freedom to access healthcare wherever they are. This insurance provider has a strong financial standing and good ratings, making it a reliable option for just about anybody.

Best For
  • People who want flexibility in their health care coverage
  • People who want supplemental insurance coverage
  • People who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid
Pros
  • Offers a wide variety of plans
  • Strong financial and customer service ratings
  • ACA and non ACA plans available
Cons
  • Not all plans ACA-compliant
  • The website can make it difficult to get a quote

Kaiser Permanente Overall

To decide if Kaiser Permanente is right for you, look at a variety of plans. Go online and look at your plan options in your area. Research Kaiser’s reputation in your area. Consider which type of plan you’re most comfortable with and how important it is to choose your providers. If you’re flexible and you like the convenience of getting all your healthcare under 1 roof, Kaiser might be a good fit. 

How do you like Kaiser Permanente?