Best Health Insurance in California
Best Overall for Health Insurance in California
The best health insurance company in California is LA Care, with a MoneyGeek score of 88 out of 100. This provider features affordable rates, low maximum out-of-pocket (MOOP) costs and better-than-average claims processing. For this category, we evaluated Silver health plans in California, covering 180 EPOs, 600 HMOs and 250 PPO plans.
MoneyGeek Pick: LA Care
0% claims denial rate
Lowest average MOOP in California
Cheapest rates among 12 insurers
Only HMO Silver plans available
LA Care is MoneyGeek’s pick for California's best overall health insurance provider. Although it only offers Silver HMO plans (20), it features the lowest premiums in the state at approximately $331 per month. Beyond its affordable premiums, LA Care also features a low average MOOP cost of $8,750, helping you reduce your total medical expenses. LA Care also has an outstanding claims denial rate of 0%. This means it accepts all valid claims and does not deny legitimate coverage requests.
MoneyGeek recommends LA Care’s Silver 70 HMO plan, which costs approximately $331 per year and comes with a MOOP of $8,750.
Best Health Insurance in California for Low Out-of-Pocket Costs
LA Care is California’s best health insurance company for consumers prioritizing low out-of-pocket costs. With a MoneyGeek score of 88 out of 100, this provider offers low maximum out-of-pocket (MOOP) expenses, cost-effective premiums and exceptional claims handling. Our evaluation focused on Gold and Platinum health plans in California, including 180 EPOs, 680 HMOs and 250 PPO plans.
MoneyGeek Pick: LA Care
Accepts a high percentage of claims
Low maximum out-of-pocket (MOOP) costs
Limited plan offerings
If you’re looking for health insurance with low maximum out-of-pocket costs, LA Care stands out as the best health insurance provider in California. It offers 10 Gold HMO and 10 Platinum HMO plans, which come with an average cost of $370 per month, the cheapest in the state. In addition to its low premiums, LA Care offers a low MOOP cost of $6,525, on par with more expensive plans in the state. The company also accepts most insurance claims, so it’s likely that your coverage requests will be paid for without any unnecessary hassle.
If you’re in the market for low-MOOP plans, we suggest Platinum 90 HMO from LA Care. It costs an average of $394 per month and comes with a $4,500 MOOP.
Best Cheap Health Insurance in California
LA Care is the best cheap health insurance provider in California, earning a MoneyGeek score of 94 out of 100. On average, its plans cost $331 per month, the cheapest among the 12 companies we surveyed.
MoneyGeek placed a heavier emphasis on affordability when selecting the winner for this category. However, low-premium plans tend to have higher out-of-pocket costs. We studied Silver plans for this category, including 180 EPOs, 600 HMOs and 250 PPO plans.
If you're focused soley on cost, MoneyGeek also determined the cheapest health insurance in California.
MoneyGeek Pick: LA Care
Outstanding claims management
Plans limited to Silver HMOs
LA Care is MoneyGeek’s best cheap health insurance provider in California. On average, its plans cost $331 per month with an $8,750 MOOP cost. Despite its affordability, LA Care limits your choices to 10 Silver HMO plans. Nonetheless, LA Care has a sterling reputation for effective claims management and rarely denies coverage. With this, you can be confident that your coverage requests will be processed efficiently, and you won’t have to settle your medical expenses out of pocket.
MoneyGeek recommends LA Care’s Silver 70 HMO, which costs around $331 per month and has an average MOOP of $8,750.
Best Health Insurance for Young Adults in California
Aetna is the best health insurance provider for young adults in California, with a MoneyGeek score of 79 out of 100. We analyzed health insurance providers that offer Bronze or Catastrophic plans, which have low monthly premiums but high out-of-pocket costs. Catastrophic plans are limited to individuals under 30 or those who qualify for a hardship exemption.
Our evaluation for this category included 216 EPOs, 388 HMOs and 300 PPO plans in California.
MoneyGeek Pick: Aetna
Excellent claims management
Low out-of-pocket expenses
Ranks #5 out of 12 insurers for premium costs
Limited to HMO plans
Aetna is the best health insurance provider for young adults in California. Its average price for 26-year-olds is $309 per month, which is the fifth-lowest rate we found among 12 insurers. It comes with a MOOP of $7,600. Aetna offers 24 HMO plans (four Catastrophic and 20 Bronze). However, it has a minuscule claims denial rate, meaning it rarely rejects legitimate coverage requests.
We recommend the following Aetna plans for young adults in California:
- Bronze 60 HDHP HMO: $313 per month for 26-year-olds and $68 per month for 18-year-olds ($7,000 MOOP)
- Bronze 60 HMO: $304 per month for 26-year-olds and $58 per month for 18-year-olds ($8,200 MOOP)
Best Health Insurance by Plan Type in California
Health insurance providers generally offer different plan types that may vary in benefits, coverage, cost-sharing and network options. Based on our analysis of health insurance providers in California, LA Care has the best HMO plans, Oscar provides the top EPOs and Blue Cross Blue Shield has the highest-performing PPOs.
Our recommendations are limited to Silver plans, which typically offer a balance between premium affordability and lower out-of-pocket costs. For this evaluation, we examined 180 EPOs, 600 HMOs and 250 PPOs in California.
Best for HMO: LA Care
LA Care is MoneyGeek’s pick as the best HMO provider in California. Its plans cost approximately $331 per month and come with an $8,750 MOOP cost. Beyond its affordable rates and low out-of-pocket expenses, it also has an outstanding claims management reputation. There are 20 Silver HMO plans in California from this provider.
MoneyGeek recommends LA Care’s Silver 70 HMO, which costs roughly $331 per month and features an average MOOP of $8,750.
Best for PPO: Blue Cross Blue Shield
Blue Cross Blue Shield emerges as the best PPO provider in California. It’s relatively pricey at around $639 per month, but it features a low average MOOP of $8,750. Additionally, this provider has a reputation for effective claims management. Blue Cross Blue Shield offers 190 Silver PPO plans in California.
If you’re looking for PPO plans in California, we recommend the Silver 70 PPO plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield. It costs approximately $639 per month and comes with an $8,750 MOOP.
Best for EPO: Oscar
Oscar is MoneyGeek’s top choice for an EPO plan in California. It offers affordable premiums and a low MOOP cost at $558 per month and $8,750 per year, respectively. Oscar also has an above-average claims management reputation, which means it processes most of its coverage requests. It offers 50 Silver EPO plans in the state.
For EPO plans in California, MoneyGeek recommends Oscar’s Silver 70 EPO, which costs roughly $558 per month and features a MOOP of $8,750.
How to Find the Best Health Insurance for You in California
In California, the best health insurance plan for you depends on your health care needs and budget. It’s a matter of finding the right balance between affordable monthly premiums and reasonable out-of-pocket expenses. Below, we list two important factors to consider when buying a health insurance plan.
Understand when a health insurance plan will cover you
HMO plans tend to have the most limited network of health care providers, whereas PPO plans offer greater flexibility but often come with higher costs. You may save money on premiums with an HMO plan, but not if you have to pay more to see an out-of-network provider. California has 576 EPOs, 1,668 HMOs and 800 PPO plans.
Weigh the cost of premiums vs. the cost of care
Low-premium health insurance plans may seem attractive and result in savings in the short term. However, they often come with higher out-of-pocket costs, which can result in higher annual medical expenses overall. In California, for example, LA Care’s Silver 70 HMO plan costs around $331 per month and comes with an $8,750 MOOP. However, its Platinum 90 HMO plan costs an average of $394 per month with a $4,500 MOOP.
Consider California Medicare or Medicaid if You’re Eligible
California residents over 65 or who have a qualifying disability or illness may qualify for Medicare. It’s a federal government program that offers assistance for certain medical services but may still require some form of payment. The program covers the following services:
- Part A: Covers services related to hospital stays — including inpatient care, skilled nursing facility care and certain home health care services.
- Part B: Extends to doctor's services, such as outpatient care and medical and preventive services.
- Part D: Helps pay for prescription drugs and any recommended shots or vaccines.
On the other hand, Medicaid is a no-cost option for California residents who meet the program's requirements. If your income falls below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level, you may qualify for Medicaid coverage in California.
Frequently Asked Questions About Health Insurance in California
Looking for health insurance in California can raise questions about costs and availability. We answered some frequently asked questions to help you get the right plan for your unique needs.
About Mark Fitzpatrick