Blue Shield of California health insurance review and ratings 2024

The vast majority of Blue California’s customers say they would recommend it to friends and family and just about all those polled said they’d renew their policies. It’s No. 12 on’s 2024 Best Health Insurance Companies list – earning 3.7 stars out of 5.

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Our take

Blue Shield of California gets good marks as an all-around health insurance provider. Its customers say they would highly recommend it to others and 94% said they’ll renew their policies with the insurer. 

Blue Shield of California came in No. 12 on our Best Health Insurance Companies for 2024 list, earning 3.7 stars (actually, 3.65) out of 5. 

Of course, Blue Shield of California is largely limited to residents of the Golden State.

Blue Shield of California
Blue Shield of California Ratings
Overall Rating: 3.7
Price/Affordability: 3.5
NCQA: 3.17
Customer Satisfaction: 3.8
AM Best Rating: A

Pros and Cons

  • Blue Shield of California ranked among the top insurers for renewals
  • Most customers said they’d recommend it to others
  • It wasn’t ranked highly for policy offerings
  • It’s mostly limited to California residents

Below is’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 Blue Shield of California insurance cost? 

Several companies on our list ranked higher than Blue Shield of California for affordability. Kaiser Permanente led this category with 4.3 stars. However, the company offers competitive rates when looking at specific plans (see below). 

Insurance companyPrice/affordability stars
Blue Shield of California3.54
Kaiser Permanente4.34
BCBS of North Carolina3.67

Below is a look at how Blue Shield of California rates in the Golden State compare with Kaiser Permanente and Centene for similar plans. These are 2024 healthcare exchange rates for a single, 40-year-old male in excellent health with an annual income of $70,000.

Insurance companyRate/MonthPlan
Blue Shield of California$433.53Silver 70 Trio – HMO
Kaiser Permanente$497.98Silver 70 – HMO
Centene$453.71Silver 70 Ambetter – HMO

How Blue Shield of California scores for customer satisfaction

Our survey found that 71% of Blue Shield of California customers give it high marks for customer satisfaction. Several other companies did better here, including Kaiser Permanente, which led this category. However, it was in the middle of the pack when looking at average J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Commercial Member Health Plan Study scores for California – the regional average is 723. J.D. Power measures health plans for overall customer satisfaction.

Insurance companyCustomer satisfaction starsJ.D. Power overall satisfaction score (out of 1,000)
Blue Shield of California3.80722
Kaiser Permanente4.45749

How Blue Shield of California scores for policy offerings 

Seven in 10 customers gave Blue Shield of California high marks for policy offerings. Blue Shield of California offers a wide range of policies for individuals, families, and employers. It also offers programs covering vision and dental care and offers life insurance. BCBS of Michigan led this category.

Insurance companyPercent of customers who score their insurance company highly for policy offerings
Blue Shield of California69%
BCBS of Michigan88%
Kaiser Permanente86%

Would current customers recommend Blue Shield of California to others? 

Most Blue Shield of California customers – 94% – would recommend the insurer to others. That’s a better score than most of the insurers in our ranking, but not as good as BCBS of Michigan – all the BCBS of Michigan customers we surveyed said they recommend it. 

Insurance companyPercent of customers who would recommend their health insurance company to others
Blue Shield of California94%
BCBS of Michigan100%
Kaiser Permanente95%

How trustworthy is Blue Shield of California?

The majority of customers, 74%, say Blue Shield of California has earned their trust. But a number of insurers did better. Kaiser Permanente led the survey with 86% of its customers saying they trusted it. 

Insurance companyPercent of customers who say they trust their health insurance company
Blue Shield of California74%
Kaiser Permanente86%
BCBS of Michigan80%

Do current Blue Shield of California customers plan to renew?

Yes, they do. When customers were asked if they planned to renew with Blue Shield of California, 94% said they would – the fifth-highest score in this category. BCBS led this category.

Insurance companyPercent of customers who plan to renew with their health insurance company
Blue Shield of California94%
BCBS of Michigan98%
Kaiser Permanente95%

How Blue Shield of California scores for digital experience

Only 17% of its customers gave the company a high score here. But it should be noted that most insurers didn’t do well in this category.

Insurance company Percent of customers who highly rank the company’s digital experience
Blue Shield of California 17%
Kaiser Permanente 32%
Cigna 26%

How Blue Shield of California scores for low deductibles

The company didn’t score particularly well here, but then no company did. Aetna, Cigna and HCSC tied for the lead in this category. A deductible is the out-of-pocket money you have to pay for health services before your insurer begins to pay.

Insurance company Percent of customers who highly rank the company for low deductibles
Blue California 26%
Aetna, Cigna, HCSC 31%
Kaiser Permanente 25%

How Blue Shield of California 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. Blue Shield of California had the fifth-highest score in this category. But none of the companies in our ranking did especially well. Molina led this category.

Insurance company Percent of customers who highly rank the company’s provider network
Blue Shield of California 23%
Molina 31%
Kaiser Permanente 14%

Blue Shield of California health insurance coverage options

  • Health insurance for individuals and families
  • Health insurance via employers
  • Medicare and Medi-Cal plans 

Other Blue Shield of California services 

  • Dental 
  • Vision

States where Blue Shield of California offers coverage

States where Blue Shield of California offers coverage
Not available

Note: Coverage is offered to people living in California and employees of some California-based companies with offices in other states. Members who carry the “Blue Card” also have access to care outside of California.

Company background

Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California was founded in 1939 by the California Medical Association. By 1940, more than 20,000 Californians had subscribed, and some 5,000 physicians joined the healthcare service plan

Blue Shield of California became one of the founders of the National Association of Blue Shield plans in 1946, which was later renamed the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Today, Blue Shield of California has about 4.8 million members.

It has a strong reputation for investing back into the community through its Corporate Citizenship Program and Blue Shield of California Foundation.

Resources & Methodology


Blue Shield of California website. Accessed February 2024.

Methodology in the fall of 2023 surveyed more than 1,750 insurance consumers (1,151 people with home insurance). The survey was conducted by online market research company Slice MR.

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

Respondents were then asked to pick their insurer’s top three attributes out of more than a dozen presented – including digital experience, discounts best for auto/home bundling and best for discounts. The number of responses for each attribute were totaled before dividing by the number of each company’s customers who responded to that survey question to create a percentage. 

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

Finally, respondents 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.

They then collected AM Best data, which measure financial strength, and National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ complaint data, which ranks a company by the number of customer complaints it receives. The team identified the NAIC company code or codes that were the primary underwriting companies for each carrier and line of business using total annual premiums. The associated NAIC complaint index score was used in the calculations. If more than one underwriting company was identified for a line, the editors used a weighted average of the NAIC complaint index scores.

They also collected insurance rate data from Quadrant Information Services.

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 home insurers, we took the following and gave each a weight.

  • Survey: 40% of the total score (10% customer satisfaction, 10% recommended, 10% renewal rate and 10% claims handling)
  • AM Best: 25% of total score
  • Annual premium: 20% of total score
  • NAIC: 15% of total score

Each insurer was awarded between half a star and 5 stars. No company in the ranking received less than half a star in any category, and 5 stars was the most any insurer could receive.

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Mel Duvall
Contributing Researcher


Mel Duvall is an award-winning senior business writer and communications professional. Mel also served a three-year term on the Mount Royal University Journalism Committee.

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