Originating more than 60 years ago as a healthcare program for people working in shipyards, mills, and construction sites, Kaiser now serves more than 10 million members. Unlike many of the other companies reviewed on this site, Kaiser is more than just an insurer – it is a managed care organization, the largest of its kind in the United States, combining health coverage and a large network of hospitals, doctors, and specialists. Kaiser Permanente offers insurance to individuals, families, and employers.
Kaiser has a good range of health plans to choose from, including preferred provider organization (PPO) plans, Medicare plans, and plans that can be used with health savings accounts (HSAs). The company also offers short-term health insurance, which can be great for filling gaps in one’s coverage, as well as dental and vision insurance. Kaiser’s plans and services are not available in all states, but they boast an extensive network of doctors, hospitals, and specialists in the states that they do serve. Their plans also allow you to switch doctors at any time, provided your new doctor is also part of their system.
One of the best things about Kaiser’s health plans is their affordability. The average premiums on their plans are lower than those of many other insurers, particularly for older enrollees. Of course, the exact costs and levels of coverage will vary from plan to plan.
The Kaiser website allows users to view their plan benefits and medical records, make payments, schedule or change the date of appointments, and find local Kaiser doctors and facilities. Many of these same features are available on the company’s mobile app, which can also be used to order medications. Members also get discounts on fitness club memberships and other health-related products and have the opportunity to take classes at their local Kaiser facility, where they can learn more about how to stay healthy, develop good habits, and live better.
The biggest Drawback to Kaiser is its limited range. Kaiser health plans are only available in eight states: California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington, as well as Washington, D.C.. The company’s dental coverage is even more restricted, only being available in Oregon. Even within these states, members are limited to Kaiser’s own healthcare providers. Outside specialists are not covered, and Kaiser doctors will not refer patients off-network. Any off-network care you do receive will need to be paid for entirely out-of-pocket.
If you do live in one of the states Kaiser serves, think carefully about what these limitations could mean for you. For example, Kaiser plans may not be the best choice for families with children going to college in other states, as it may be difficult or impossible to find a Kaiser doctor or hospital in a state other than those listed above. However, you may still be able to get coverage if you have a medical emergency while traveling, even if you are not near a Kaiser provider.
Be sure to check the availability of Kaiser doctors and facilities in your area before purchasing a plan, especially if you have medical needs which may require specialized care.
Reputation and Financial Strength
Kaiser has received A+ (strong) scores from both Fitch and Standard & Poor’s. Scores from independent ratings agencies such as these are important, as they help to illustrate a company’s financial strength and predict its ability to pay out future claims. The company also scores well with customers, earning generally positive feedback and recommendations from many. It has even won awards for its high customer satisfaction rate. However, before purchasing a plan, it is still a good idea to check out the reputation of the Kaiser-affiliated providers and facilities in your area, since those are the only places where you will have coverage. This is especially important if you have specific healthcare needs.
Kaiser Permanente is a reputable and experienced insurer with a solid selection of plans and a great network of doctors, hospitals, and specialists within the states it serves. Its limited range means that it will not be an option for everyone, but for those who do live in the states listed above, especially those who are budget-conscious and want to get the most out of their premiums, Kaiser is an excellent choice.
Following reviews are helpful.
Great Facilities, May, 2019
My wife and I both have health insurance from Kaiser and we are quite happy with it. We get expert doctors and all medical facilities in one place. So far, we have not faced any issues regarding our health insurance from Kaiser.
I cannot say enough how satisfied I am with the service I got from Kaiser, March, 2019
I had my whole treatment for cancer done through my health insurance from Kaiser. I cannot say enough how satisfied I am with the service I got from Kaiser.The complete process went on very smoothly. All the doctors and nurses were very competent and caring. They made me feel comfortable and assisted me through every step. The plan covered all my medical
I am very disappointed about leaving Kaiser, February, 2019
I cannot keep Kaiser any longer because my employer has discontinued their plan. However, I would certainly recommend this to everyone since I was very happy with the coverage and their service. I am very disappointed about leaving Kaiser.