Health insurance is a necessity, but finding an affordable option can be a daunting process. From finding a health insurance plan that meets your budget for the monthly premium, deductible, and copay and your coverage needs to determining if you qualify for financial subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, there are many considerations in this decision. An evaluation of many health insurance companies has revealed the top 10 providers of cheap health insurance for 2017.
Blue Cross Blue Shield
The Blue Cross Blue Shield organization includes nearly 40 independently operated companies, and in total, the organization provides health coverage nationwide. The expansive Blue Cross Blue Shield network means a greater likelihood of providers, including physicians and hospitals, being in-network with cheaper deductibles and copays for the insured. Because of the number of individual companies under the parent umbrella, coverage, prices, and service can vary from company to company. Regardless of the variances, prices are competitive and coverage is expansive. Additionally, Blue Cross Blue Shield is in partnership with other companies to offer discounts on wellness products and services such as fitness club memberships.
Humana health insurance plans are available in 22 states, primarily in the South, West and Midwest regions of the country. While it is not a nationwide coverer, in cases of emergency, the insurance plan may cover essential care and nationwide PPO plans provide coverage in other areas of the country. Home healthcare is covered in many of Humana’s insurance plans, and dental and vision coverage can be added. An online wellness program allows covered members to track their health and wellness and earn points in the HumanaVitality rewards program that can be redeemed for things like healthy food, workout gear, and movie tickets. Humana Guidance Centers, located in coverage areas, offer cooking and exercise classes, health seminars, and social activities.
While Kaiser Permanente is known for its offerings of low-cost health insurance, coverage is available in limited areas in California, Colorado, Virginia, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, Georgia, Hawaii, and Washington, DC. Additionally, care is covered by only the Kaiser Permanente network of providers. Regardless of the restriction to only Kaiser Permanente providers, the size of the network is expansive and offers comprehensive care and treatment. However, those with health issues or special needs may find the provider choices too limiting so it worth investigation before purchasing a plan. While care and treatment is not covered in the US by non-Kaiser Permanente network providers, they may be covered in emergency situations when traveling outside of the country.
Aetna has a long-established history and a solid reputation in the healthcare coverage field. The company offers many private insurance plans as well as approved plans through the Affordable Care Act with premiums that are lower than average in comparison to those offered elsewhere. Aetna also provides nationwide coverage. In addition to standard health insurance, the company provides dental, vision, student, international, and supplemental insurance coverage. Life insurance can also be added to most of the Aetna’s insurance plans. A quote can be obtained online and the website features an online chat functionality to assist with determining coverage and understanding the different plan options.
United Healthcare offers a variety of health insurance plans at different price ranges. Plans meet the guidelines established under the Affordable Care Act, with one of those guidelines outlining decreased premiums for lower wage earners such as recent college graduates and the elderly. Insurance quotes can be obtained from the company website by answering just a few simple questions. The website also includes online wellness support and tools to help healthcare plan members better manage their heath. Additionally, an account manager is available online to assist with prescription refills, enrollment in wellness services, assistance in finding a healthcare provider, and a nurse hotline for health-related questions.
CIGNA provides healthcare insurance coverage in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas, as well as dental insurance and international healthcare coverage. There is a large network of providers, so while insurance plans can be purchased in limited areas only, access to physician, hospital, and other healthcare providers is available nationwide. One area of coverage allowed by CIGNA plans that is not always available is home health care and treatment. The website offers easy access to quotes and plan options by simply providing a zip code. Other online services include a provider locator tool, functionality to search for prescription drug coverage, wellness programs, and access to filed claims.
Assurant Health offers a wide range of health insurance plans meeting the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act, as well as international health coverage and short-term healthcare plans for those in between employment. The network of providers under Assurant Health’s plans is quite extensive and includes primary care as well as physician specialists in many treatment categories and fields. Healthcare plans range from very basic major medical to a wide range of service offerings and unlimited physician visits. Those without existing health conditions or children who may be more prone to illness and injury may find more affordable healthcare coverage through a basic plan.
Healthcare plans through Coventry Healthcare are available in about eight states. The company specializes in providing low-cost health insurance and dental coverage. Coventry will no longer participate in the Marketplace so the company’s plans will not meet the needs of those looking for reduced premiums with subsidies or tax credits. Regardless, Coventry offers some other unique plans. For example, catastrophic plans for those under age 30 or determined to be under financial hardship are offered at low monthly premiums. While Coventry offers more options for inexpensive healthcare insurance, some of the plans’ coverage is limited and may leave members with large coinsurance responsibilities.
Emblem Health offers insurance plans in New York, so its reach is limited for much of the United States population; however, nationwide coverage may be available in emergency situations or with some PPO plans. As a low-cost health insurance option, Emblem Health offers a high deductible HMO plan that is appropriate for those under age 30 or with minimal need to visit a doctor. All plans include free telehealth services and preventive care, including yearly well-child exams, immunizations, and routine screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies. As a participant in the NY State of Health Marketplace, financial assistance with subsidized monthly premiums and tax credits available to those who qualify.
Farm Bureau Insurance
Farm Bureau Insurance originated to serve the insurance needs of the farming community with services expanding to the broader audience. Health insurance coverage is available for those aged 65 and younger through Farm Bureau. The company offers several plans with varying premiums and copay amounts based on the extent and level of coverage. as well as plans that meet the Affordable Care Act guidelines. Low-cost health insurance plans are offered, including individual plans for those aged 19 to 30 and PPO plans with a low deductible of just $1,000 annually. Farm Bureau also offers dental and short term health insurance coverage, health savings accounts with qualifying high deductible plans, and supplemental insurance.
Choosing a health insurance plan should involve not just looking for the cheapest option, but also evaluating the coverage amounts, processing of claims, and level of service. The National Committee for Quality Assurance publishes health insurance plan ratings each year. It may be worth a look to review a company prior to purchasing a plan simply because it’s cheap.
See also: Compare Health Insurance Rates