Top 5 Health Insurance Companies in California

Finding the right health insurance provider is crucial to getting affordable and comprehensive coverage. In California’s competitive insurance marketplace, several carriers stand out for their plan options, pricing, customer satisfaction, and accessibility. This guide examines the top 5 health insurance companies offering coverage across California based on plan affordability, breadth of provider networks, availability, and member benefits.

How Health Insurance Companies Were Evaluated

To determine California’s top health insurance providers, key factors were assessed including:

  • Premium costs – Average monthly premium rates for plans at different metal tiers.
  • Plan availability – Accessible coverage across all California regions.
  • Provider network – Number of doctors and facilities participating in-network.
  • Benefits – Generosity of covered services, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums.
  • Customer satisfaction – Member surveys on overall services and care quality.
  • Financial stability – Assets and financial outlook indicating member protections.
  • Plan flexibility – Options for HMOs, PPOs, EPOs, and POS plans.
  • Add-on services – Perks like wellness programs, online tools, and nursing hotlines.

The Top 5 Health Insurance Companies in California

Based on the evaluation criteria, these health insurance carriers rise to the top in California:

  1. Blue Shield of California
  2. Kaiser Permanente
  3. Anthem Blue Cross
  4. Health Net
  5. Molina Healthcare

Here’s an in-depth look at each of California’s top 5 health insurance companies:

1. Blue Shield of California


  • Non-profit insurance company operating in California since 1939.
  • Headquarters in San Francisco.
  • Over 4 million members and 10,000+ employees.


  • Affordable premiums and low deductibles.
  • Available statewide with access to 90% of providers.
  • Highly rated coverage for individuals, families, and employers.
  • Generous benefits like free primary and prenatal care.
  • Strong financial performance and reserves.

Plans Offered

Customer Satisfaction

  • Consistently earns strong member satisfaction scores.
  • High marks for customer service accessibility.
  • Digital tools like Sydney Health and MyWellvolution praised.

2. Kaiser Permanente


  • Largest integrated HMO system in the U.S.
  • Based in Oakland with over 12 million members.
  • Covers 38 hospitals and 730 medical offices.


  • Top California provider with affordable premiums.
  • Direct access to comprehensive network of doctors and hospitals.
  • Focus on preventive care and wellness.
  • Award-winning online and mobile app access.
  • Highest financial strength and stability ratings.

Plans Offered

  • HMO plans for individuals and businesses.
  • Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum plan options.
  • Medicare Advantage plans.

Customer Satisfaction

  • Earns among the highest member satisfaction nationally.
  • Praised for quality of care, doctor choice, and service.
  • Digital tools consistently rated best-in-class.

3. Anthem Blue Cross


  • Largest PPO health plan in California.
  • Subsidiary of nationwide Anthem health insurance.
  • Provides coverage for 1 in 8 Californians.


  • Broad PPO network with 90% of California doctors.
  • Comprehensive health plans with solid benefits.
  • Strong supplementary offerings like dental, life, vision plans.
  • Discounts on gym memberships, alternative care, and more.
  • Digital comparison tools to aid plan selection.

Plans Offered

  • PPOs, EPOs, POS plans.
  • Individual, family, Medicare, employer, Medi-Cal plans.

Customer Satisfaction

  • Members report positive experiences overall.
  • Good marks for choice of providers.
  • Customer service generally responsive to questions.

4. Health Net


  • Servicing California since the 1980s.
  • Headquartered in Los Angeles.
  • Over 1 million Californians enrolled.


  • Comprehensive PPO network with lower premium costs.
  • Range of HMO and PPO plans to meet diverse needs.
  • Care conductors provide personalized health assistance.
  • Array of plan options for Medicare Advantage.
  • Digital comparison tools like Virtual Office Visits.

Plans Offered

  • Broad selection of HMO, PPO, POS plans.
  • Individual, family, employer group options.
  • Medicare Advantage, Medi-Cal, Covered CA plans.

Customer Satisfaction

  • Positive feedback on choice of doctors.
  • Praised for supporting ongoing care needs.
  • Members report high value for cost.

5. Molina Healthcare


  • Specializes in affordable care for low-income families.
  • Based in Long Beach with operations since 1980.
  • Over 4 million members nationwide.


  • Focus on member education and preventive care.
  • Low premium costs for individuals and employer plans.
  • Partners with major hospitals across California.
  • Leading provider for Medi-Cal managed care plans.
  • High marks for service accessibility.

Plans Offered

  • Broad choice of HMO and PPO options.
  • Individual, family, Medicare, Medi-Cal plans.

Customer Satisfaction

  • Praised for affordability and plan flexibility.
  • Members report positive experiences with staff.
  • Good reviews for preventive and specialist care.

How to Choose the Right Carrier

Here are some tips for selecting the ideal health insurance provider for your needs:

  • Compare premium costs to your budget
  • Ensure desired doctors and hospitals are in-network
  • Review plan benefits like deductibles, copays, prescription coverage
  • Assess financial stability through ratings
  • Check add-on wellness programs and health tools
  • Read member reviews and complaints data
  • Determine important factors like provider choice flexibility
  • Use online quote tools to compare plans side-by-side

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Which health insurance company has the most California members?

A: Kaiser Permanente is California’s largest health plan with over 12 million members statewide. Blue Shield, Anthem Blue Cross and Health Net all have around 1 million members.

Q2: Which companies offer the lowest premium rates in California?

A: Molina Healthcare focuses specifically on affordable coverage, while Blue Shield and Health Net also offer competitively priced plans. Government sponsored plans like Medi-Cal have the lowest rates.

Q3: Does California require health insurance companies to cover preexisting conditions?

A: Yes, as part of the Affordable Care Act, insurers in California cannot deny coverage or charge more due to preexisting conditions.

Q4: What are EPO, POS, and PPO plans?

A: EPOs cover in-network care only, POS plans require a primary care doctor to coordinate care, while PPOs offer the flexibility to see any provider without referrals.

Q5: Can HMOs and PPOs both be purchased through Covered California?

A: Yes, Covered California health insurance marketplace plans include HMO and PPO options from leading insurers like Blue Shield and Anthem.

Q6: Which health insurance companies have the best ratings for financial strength?

A: Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield of California receive top ratings from firms like Weiss, showcasing their financial reserves to pay member claims.

Q7: Which insurers are non-profit versus for-profit companies?

A: Blue Shield of California and Kaiser Permanente operate as non-profits. Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net, and Molina Healthcare are publicly traded, for-profit companies.

Q8: How can I evaluate the provider network breadth offered by insurers?

A: Use the company’s online directory search to look up your existing doctors, specialists, hospitals and verify they are covered in-network under a given plan.


California offers high quality individual and family health insurance options from a range of established providers. The top carriers based on affordability, availability, benefits, and customer satisfaction include Blue Shield, Kaiser Permanente, Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net, and Molina Healthcare. Comparing offerings as well as your healthcare priorities helps identify the ideal medical insurance provider to meet your needs.

Leave a Comment