Best Health Insurance Companies

UnitedHealthcare health insurance review and ratings 2023

UnitedHealthCare, with its extensive national coverage and wide range of offerings, is No. 2 on Insure.com’s 2023 Best Health Insurance Companies list – earning 4.2 stars out of 5.

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Our take

If you’re looking for an insurer with extensive national coverage and a wide range of offerings, UnitedHealthcare is definitely worth a look.

UnitedHealthcare came in No. 2 overall in Insure.com’s ranking of the Best Health Insurance Companies of 2023 with a star rating of 4.2 (or, more precisely, 4.158) out of 5. 

It didn’t score at the top of any one category, but it did do well in key areas such as affordability, breadth of coverage options and settling complaints. Its ranking for customer satisfaction was in the lower half of our survey; still, 86% of customers said they were satisfied.  The company also received a high National Committee for Quality Assurance rating – 3.5 out of 5 stars. NCQA evaluates health-care organizations on, among other things, member satisfaction.

unitedhealth
UnitedHealthcare Ratings
Overall Rating: 4.2
Price/Affordability: 4.8
NCQA: 3.44
Customer Satisfaction: 4.3
AM Best Rating: A+

Pros and Cons

Pros:
  • Size can matter, and UnitedHealthcare certainly has it with a large membership base and coast-to-coast coverage
  • Customers give it high marks for the range of its policy offerings
  • It’s good for international travelers and expats with more than 5 million members in its Global plan
Cons:
  • Most customers were satisfied, but it didn’t score as high as some of its competitors
  • Its provider network is big, but customers didn’t rank it all that highly

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

How much does UnitedHealthcare insurance cost?

No matter where you live across the country, UnitedHealthcare plans are likely available. And customers ranked it one of the best for price and affordability.

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

UnitedHealthcare doesn’t always come in as the cheapest, but its rates are often comparable to other insurers. Below is just one example of how UnitedHealthcare’s rates compare with those of another health insurer, in this case Emblem, for a similar plan. These are 2023 healthcare exchange rates in New York for a single, 40-year-old male in excellent health with an annual income of $70,000.

Insurance company Rate/Month Plan
UnitedHealthcare $933 UHC Compass Bronze ST 3PCP INN Pediatric Dental Dep 25
Emblem $808 EmblemHealth, Bronze ST, INN, Prime Network, Dep25, Pediatric Vision, Pediatric Dental

How UnitedHealthcare scores for customer satisfaction

Our survey found that 86% of UnitedHealthcare’s customers think it does a good job at delivering customer satisfaction. While good, several other insurers had higher customer satisfaction ratings in our survey – Kaiser led this category – and higher 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 the company overall J.D. Power overall satisfaction score (out of 1,000)
UnitedHealthcare 86% 711
Kaiser Permanente 93% 766
Aetna 87% 726

How UnitedHealthcare scores for complaints filed against company

United Healthcare does seem to do a good job at settling complaints before they escalate. 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. United Healthcare had a strong 0.98 score.

Insurance company NAIC Complaint Index
UnitedHealthcare 0.98

How UnitedHealthcare scores for policy offerings

UnitedHealthcare does have a lot of options. Customers ranked it third among Insure.com’s top 10 for the breadth and range of its policy offerings, which include vision, dental, short-term health and plans for small businesses and large organizations. Kaiser Permanente and Blue California topped this category.

Insurance company Percent of customers who score their insurance company highly for policy offerings
UnitedHealthcare 84%
Kaiser Permanente 91%
Blue California 91%

Would current customers recommend UnitedHealthcare to others?

Yes, they would. UnitedHealthcare in this category ranked high, with 90% of customers saying they would recommend the company to others. It ranked in this category just behind Kaiser and Humana among Insure.com’s top 10 health insurers.

Insurance company Percent of customers who would recommend their health insurance company to others
UnitedHealthcare 90%
Kaiser Permanente 96%
Humana 91%

How trustworthy is UnitedHealthcare?

Most customers do believe UnitedHealthcare can be trusted. Kaiser Permanente led the ratings at 87% and was the only company on our list whose percentage in this category was more than 80%

Insurance company Percent of customers who say they trust their health insurance company
UnitedHealthcare 74%
Kaiser Permanente 87%
Aetna 75%

Do current UnitedHealthcare customers plan to renew?

Yes, but not all. When asked if they planned to renew with UnitedHealthcare, 89% said they would. Anthem and Kaiser led this category among the ranked companies.

Insurance company Percent of customers who plan to renew with their health insurance company
UnitedHealthcare 89%
Anthem 95%
Kaiser Permanente 93%

How UnitedHealthcare scores for digital experience

UnitedHealthcare has deep technology roots. Its parent company, UnitedHealth Group, has a division called Optum, which supplies the industry with various software, analytics and pharmacy solutions. But none of the major health insurers do particularly well in this category. Aetna, Cigna and Anthem scored higher in this category. However, UnitedHealthcare has been investing in its virtual healthcare platform, so customers may warm to its digital offerings in time. Its app has a strong 4.7 out of 5 star rating at the Apple store.

Insurance company Survey score for digital experience
UnitedHealthcare 31%
Aetna and Cigna 37%
Anthem 35%

How UnitedHealthcare scores for low deductibles

The company fell in the middle of the pack in this category. Humana and Cigna scored better.

Insurance company Survey score for low deductibles
UnitedHealthcare 66%
Humana 77%
Cigna 68%

How UnitedHealthcare 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. Even though UnitedHealthcare has one of the largest provider networks, customers didn’t give it a high rank. Humana and Aetna scored higher here.

Insurance company Survey score for provider network
UnitedHealthcare 54%
Humana 64%
Aetna 60%

UnitedHealthcare health insurance coverage options

  • Insurance for families and individuals
  • Health insurance via employers
  • Medicare and Medicaid plans
  • Student plans
  • International plans and plans for multinational companies
  • Pharmacy plans

Additional UnitedHealthcare services

  • Dental 
  • Vision
  • Health Savings Accounts
  • Short-term medical

States where UnitedHealthcare offers coverage

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Table
States where UnitedHealthcare offers coverage
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
Washington D.C.
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
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

unitedhealth

UnitedHealthcare is the largest health insurance provider in the country by membership, but surprisingly, its roots don’t go back as far as some of its other well-known competitors. In 1974, Richard Taylor Burke founded Charter Med Inc. in Minnetonka, Minn. In 1977, the UnitedHealthcare Corp. was created to reorganize the company and became the parent of Charter Med. It became an acquirer of other healthcare companies, fueling rapid growth over the next few decades. In 2005 it acquired PacifiCare Health Systems, which came with a pharmaceutical operation. That business was later rebranded OptumRx. It now boasts more than 50 million members and has a provider network that includes some 7,000 hospitals and more than 1.5 million physicians and other healthcare professionals. Its various health offerings include individual, family, employer and Medicare and Medicaid.

The company recently announced a 10-year collaboration with retail giant Walmart to serve Medicare beneficiaries. Initially, the program will start with 15 Walmart Health locations in Florida and Georgia, then expand over time into other regions.

Resources and Methodology

Sources:

UnitedHealthcare website and UnitedHealth Group 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 score calculation: 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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