Kaiser Permanente is – unusually for the United States – a nonprofit health insurance provider that operates across nine States and Washington, D.C. It currently operates in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia, Oregon, Washington, and Ohio. The Kaiser Permanente organization currently services over 11 million healthcare members, and we've found it to standout for customer service in our guide to the best health insurance companies. Not in one of those nine states? Check the guide for other companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield (opens in new tab) and Aetna (opens in new tab)that may be available to you.
Kaiser Permanente has made a real name for itself in the States where the company is active, with competitively priced premiums and a comprehensive range of services. However, as an insurance provider, it does have limitations – namely that you are limited to the institutions and practitioners within its system. Therefore, it makes sense to do some research into the specific services in your region or state before weighing it up against its competitors.
Most customers will begin their enquiries at Kaiser Permanente's website and then as their requirements are analyzed, they will quickly be linked up with their local partners and healthcare providers. The quotation and claims processes are theoretically as straightforward as any healthcare provider, and the mobile app has attracted special praise for its usability and features.
Kaiser Permanente review: How much does it cost?
- Policies quoted were slightly lower than average
- Offers good side-by-side analysis of the various plans available
- Clear what customers could expect for their money
Sample quote for family: A man and a woman aged 35 with two kids aged 3 and 7: $1,135/month
Sample quote for a married couple: Aged 45-50, no pre-existing conditions: $705/month
Sample quote for an individual man or woman: Aged 45-50, no pre-existing conditions: $425/month
Quotes for health insurance policies vary dramatically depending on requirements and geographic locations, but overall, quotes for Kaiser Permanente were below average, particularly for more elderly customers.
Kaiser Permanente offered a good side-by-side analysis of the various plans it could offer, and within the quotes listed, it was clear what customers could expect for their money.
The website was intuitive and its mobile phone app is clean, straightforward and equally user-friendly.
Kaiser Permanente review: Products
- Individual health insurance
- Dental insurance
- Vision insurance
- Employer plans
- Medicare plans
Kaiser Permanente plans are widely accepted at hospitals and doctor's offices across its coverage regions and states. Coverage options range from Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) to Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). PPO plans generally offer coverage for out-of-network providers, while HMO plans only offer out-of-network coverage in emergency situations. Kaiser Permanente also offers Medicare and Medicaid plans.
For dental and vision insurance, the Kaiser Permanente plans include access to a network of approved dentists across their serviced regions.
Other resources available to Kaiser Permanente customers include a member portal that allows the 24/7 tracking of prescriptions and a dedicated customer service phone line. Members can download most of the paperwork they might need from the website. The Kaiser Permanente app has an especially attractive range of features that consistently receive good to excellent levels of customer satisfaction in surveys.
Kaiser Permanente review: Exceptional mobile app
- App for both iPhone and Android systems
- good reviews from customer surveys
- Can exchange messages with primary care physicians
Kaiser Permanente has an app for both iPhone and Android systems that has garnered good reviews from customer surveys. Within the app, customers can access their health insurance account details, make and set reminders for appointments, order medications and access medical records. Users can also exchange messages with their primary care physicians.
Kaiser Permanente review: Medical centers
- Based throughout the regions covered
- One-stop shop for Kaiser Permanente customers
- Many of the centers also offer classes
Kaiser Permanente Medical centers are based throughout the regions covered by Kaiser Permanente. They are mostly a one-stop shop for Kaiser Permanente customers, meaning that customers can often visit the lab, radiology, specialists, pharmacy, and their primary care physician in the same visit. Many of the centers also offer classes, seminars and wellbeing programs.
Kaiser Permanente review: Usability and user reviews
- Scores well in many customer satisfaction surveys
- Both Fitch and Standard & Poor rate it as financially very stable
- Central website is very straightforward and intuitive to use
Kaiser Permanente scores well in many customer satisfaction surveys. For instance, Kaiser Permanente scored the highest ratings possible in customer satisfaction during the 2017 Health Insurance Plan Study put on by JD Power and Associates. Kaiser ranked the highest in six regions; Maryland, South Atlantic, California, Virginia, Northwest and Colorado. User experience will obviously vary within geographic locations and for different services, but overall, Kaiser Permanente has very good user feedback.
Both Fitch and Standard & Poor rate it as financially very stable, and Kaiser Permanente has very few complaints on the Better Business Bureau and other consumer forums compared to its competitors.
The Kaiser Permanente central website is very straightforward and intuitive to use, and customers are given a good range of policy options when submitting a query for a quote. There are links to each of the specific regions covered by Kaiser Permanente for more specific information about what is available in each area. Quotes do require a certain amount of personal information to be submitted, but this is nothing really beyond the industry standard.
It’s easy to locate the FAQs, online help and customer service sections within the website, and customers can download most of the forms they might need for claims, for example.
Should I choose Kaiser Permanente?
Kaiser Permanente stacks up well against its peers, with relatively low premiums, easy quotation process, straightforward websites and a well-liked mobile app. The lack of nationwide coverage could be a drawback for some people, even if they live within the coverage area (families that have children attending college out of state, for example) and Kaiser Permanente is definitely one of the more localized health insurance providers. However, it performs well and has a consistently high level of customer satisfaction, and it is well worth considering for potential customers in those regions and states where it is operational.
As well as our guide to the best health insurance companies, we also look at how to choose a health insurance plan. You might also want to look at something more specific when it comes to health cover, in which case you'll find our guides to the best dental insurance and best vision insurance useful. Looking further ahead and we rate the best life insurance options and best Medicare Part D plans.