Best Health Insurance Companies

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (Elevance Health) health insurance review and ratings 2023

Anthem, which ranks highest for loyalty, is No. 4 on Insure.com’s 2023 Best Health Insurance Companies list – earning 3.6 stars out of 5.

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Our take

One of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield’s key strengths is its high member loyalty, with 95% of customers saying they would stick with the insurer, the highest score among the companies we ranked. The company also received a strong 3.5 out of 5 stars from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. NCQA evaluates healthcare plans on, among other things, member satisfaction.

Overall, it’s fourth on Insure.com’s list of the Best Health Insurance Companies for 2023 with a star rating of 3.6 out of 5 stars.

Anthem is a good choice if you’re looking for a one-stop shop for health insurance, vision, dental, pharmacy and Medicare plans, and when traveling, policyholders have access to the wider Blue Cross Blue Shield network. 

In June 2022, Anthem became Elevance Health, although policies continue to be marketed under the Anthem and Blue brands.

anthem
Anthem Ratings
Overall Rating: 3.6
Price/Affordability: 4.1
NCQA: 3.41
Customer Satisfaction: 4.1
AM Best Rating: A+

Pros and Cons

Pros:
  • Rated high for renewals
  • Large provider networks
  • Good for people who like a one-stop shop for all their health, dental, vision and pharmacy needs
Cons:
  • Doesn’t have the highest marks for customer satisfaction
  • Customers didn’t give its policy offerings the strongest marks

Below is Insure.com’s review of the company. It’s based on third-party metrics and our in-depth survey of insurance customers. Find the full methodology here, including an explanation of our survey scores.

How much does Anthem health insurance cost?

Customers put Anthem in the middle of the pack when it comes to affordability – although its rates do stack up well against competitors in given markets.

Insurance company Rank for price/affordability among Insure.com’s top 10
Anthem 6
Aetna 1
Cigna, UnitedHealthcare 2 (tie)

Below is a look at how Anthem’s rates in California compare with those of Blue Shield of California and Kaiser for a similar plan. These are 2023 healthcare exchange rates for a single, 40-year-old male in excellent health with an annual income of $70,000.

Insurance company Rate / Month Plan
Anthem $353 Silver 70 HMO
Blue Shield of California $379 Silver 70 Trio HMO
Kaiser Permanente $379 Silver 70 HMO

How Anthem scores for customer satisfaction

Our survey found that 81% of Anthem’s members think it does a nice job of satisfying customers. While a strong percentage, it placed in the bottom half of our survey. Kaiser is the top-rated company in this category. Kaiser also bested the company when looking at average  J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Commercial Member Health Plan Study scores, which measure health plans for overall customer satisfaction.

Insurance company Percent of customers who are satisfied with their insurance company overall J.D. Power overall satisfaction score (out of 1,000)
Anthem 81% 726
Kaiser Permanente 93% 766
California Blue 91% 738

How Anthem scores for complaints filed against company

Anthem does a good job at settling complaints before they escalate. The company did better in this category than all the other insurers we ranked. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) compares major providers on how many complaints are filed with state regulators. If a provider has a rate that is equal to its customer base, it receives a 1.0 score. If it has twice as many complaints as its share of the market, it gets a 2.0.

Insurance company NAIC Complaint Index
Anthem 0.19

How Anthem scores for policy offerings

Anthem offers lots of choices, including plans beyond traditional health insurance. Despite that, customers didn’t give its policy offerings the strongest marks. Kaiser and Blue Shield of California topped this category.

Insurance company Percent of customers who score their insurance company highly for policy offerings
Anthem 76%
Kaiser Permanente 91%
Blue California 91%

Would current customers recommend Anthem to others?

Anthem ranked relatively high in this category, with 87% of customers saying they would recommend the company to others. Kaiser had the highest score among the companies we ranked. 

Insurance company Percent of customers who would recommend their health insurance company to others
Anthem 87%
Kaiser Permanente 96%
Aetna 85%

How trustworthy is Anthem?

The majority of customers trust Anthem. Still, most healthcare insurance companies we ranked didn’t get above a 75% positive response when we asked about trust. Kaiser led this category.

Insurance company Percent of customers who say they trust their health insurance company
Anthem 71%
Kaiser Permanente 87%
UnitedHealthcare 74%

Do current Anthem customers plan to renew?

Absolutely. Customers seem to recognize they get good value and coverage for their money, with 95% saying they would renew. That was among the highest responses in this category.

Insurance company Percent of customers who plan to renew with their health insurance company
Anthem 95%
Aetna 90%
UnitedHealthcare 89%

How Anthem scores for low deductibles

Anthem customers ranked the company about average for deductibles.

Insurance company Survey score of low deductibles
Anthem 55%
Aetna 55%
UnitedHealthcare 66%

How Anthem scores for its provider network

A healthcare provider network is a group of doctors, specialists and hospitals that provide services to insured members at a lower cost than providers outside the network. A strong provider network can be a key consideration when shopping for a health plan. Anthem, which has one of the largest networks of doctors, hospitals and healthcare workers, had one of the highest scores in this category.

Insurance company Survey score for provider network
Anthem 72%
UnitedHealthcare 53%
Aetna 60%

Anthem health insurance coverage options

  • Insurance for families and individuals 
  • High deductible plans with health savings accounts 
  • Medicare plans 
  • Plans for all sizes of businesses 
  • Student plans 
  • Temporary insurance 
  • Pharmacy plans 

Additional Anthem services

  • Dental 
  • Vision 
  • Travel

States where Anthem offers coverage

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Table
States where Anthem offers coverage
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Georgia
Indiana
Kentucky
Maine
Missouri
Nevada
New Hampshire
New York
Ohio
Virginia
Wisconsin
AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DC DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY
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Company background

anthem

Anthem is one of the largest health insurers in the country, serving 14 states and about 46 million members. Its provider network includes some 1.1 million healthcare workers, which includes doctors, dentists, nurses, technicians and other support workers.

The company has a direct presence in 14 states, with a large concentration in the Midwest, Northeast, Colorado, Nevada and California. It’s headquartered in Indianapolis.

The company dates to 1946 when it was originally called Mutual Hospital Insurance and Mutual Medical Insurance. It grew quickly and by the 1970s had secured 80% of the Indiana market. In 1985, the companies purchased the provider of Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Ohio and rebranded itself as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Meanwhile, WellPoint Health Networks was created by Blue Cross of California. Over the years, WellPoint and Anthem merged with other BCBS affiliates until the two companies came together in 2004. In 2014, WellPoint officially changed its name to Anthem. In 2017 it made a push into the pharmacy business, launching IngenioRx, a pharmacy benefits manager. That company, along with other subsidiaries, are now being folded into a Carelon brand.

Following its rebranding in June of 2022, Anthem became Elevance Health. The company says the change was made to better reflect its evolution to offer policies and products beyond traditional health insurance.

Resources & Methodology

Sources:

Anthem website, Elevance Health corporate information. Accessed November 2022.

Methodology

Insure.com in the fall of 2022 surveyed more than 1,500 insurance consumers (775 people with health insurance). The survey was conducted by online market research company Slice MR.

Respondents were asked to name their insurer and then grade it in the following categories – customer satisfaction, ease of service and policy offerings. The percentage of respondents who said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their insurer is presented in the results.

Survey source calculations: Respondents were then asked to rank their insurer’s top three attributes out of more than a dozen presented – such as its provider network. For a number one choice, five points were given; for a second choice, three points; and for a third choice, a single point. The total points for each choice – first, second and third – were then divided by the number of each company’s customers who responded to that survey question to create a percentage. Those percentages are presented in the results as scores.

Respondents were then asked if they would recommend their insurer to someone else and if they planned to renew their policies. The percentage who said yes is presented in the results.

They also were given the statement “I trust my insurance company” and asked if they strongly agreed, agreed, disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement. The percentage of those who said they agreed or strongly agreed is presented in the results.

The editors compiled the survey results and then selected – based on the number of survey responses – the top companies for further evaluation. Insure.com needed 20 or more of a company’s customers to respond to the survey for that insurer to be included in the ranking, although in some categories the editors did consider companies with 18 or 19 responses.

They then collected AM Best financial stability ratings and National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) ratings, which evaluate health plans on, among other things, member satisfaction.

With the help of Prof. David Marlett, Ph.D., managing director of the Brantley Risk and Insurance Center at Appalachian State University, the editors created a rating system to determine which insurance companies were best in each sector. For health insurers, we used the following weights to calculate the overall score for each company:

Survey – 60% of total score (10% for customer satisfaction, 10% trustworthiness, 10% for recommending the carrier to another, 10% if a respondent would renew with their current insurer, and 20% if they consider their insurer the best for affordability)

  • AM Best – 25% of total score
  • NCQA – 15% of total score
  • Each insurer was awarded from 1 to 5 stars. No insurer in our star ranking received less than 1 star and the highest possible ranking is 5 stars.

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