Health Insurance Review Methodology

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Health insurance helps patients get the medical care they require

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Access to health insurance is a top priority for individuals and families across the country who don’t have access to a plan through their employers. However, getting health insurance—let alone finding the best plan to fit your needs—is often easier said than done. Federal and state health insurance marketplaces can be overwhelming if you’re using them for the first time, and even returning customers can struggle with pricing, terminology, and options. 

Our rankings can help simplify the process. We meticulously researched national and regional health insurance companies using a wide range of data from trustworthy sources and the insurers themselves to find the best health insurance companies of 2023. Below, we detail the data we sourced, criteria we used, and methodology we implemented. 

Which Articles Use Our Methodology

All of our individual reviews of health insurers as well as this article use the following methodology. 

Literature Review

The Balance analyzed several different information sources to identify the health insurance companies we review. That analysis includes a review of market and insight databases, including Gale, Plunkett, and Statista; a health insurer’s market share; and data from Google users. With that data, we determine key trends in health insurance companies, and plans and public interest in those companies and plans.

Data Collection and Verification

We gathered the data we use from a variety of sources: reliable third-party rating agencies, official government websites and databases, and health insurance companies (their website, media contacts, and our existing relationships). Some of the third-party websites we gather data from include J.D. Power, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), AM Best,, and our partners at HealthNetwork. To ensure the accuracy and reliability of our data, we independently reviewed all data and the sources from which we gathered them. 

Ratings Methodology

We used a four-factor grading system to determine the best health insurance companies in 2023 and the star ratings we gave them. The following breakdown shows which factors we considered, and the percentage indicates the weight we gave to that factor.

Customer satisfaction (20%): We calculated overall customer satisfaction by using NCQA and ratings, giving more weight to NCQA.

State availability (15%): A tally of how many states the insurer or plan was available in.

Plan features (40%): We rated each company based on the availability and strength of the following features:

  • Types of plans (5%): HMO, PPO, EPO, POS, and other plan types
  • Plan benefits (20%): Programs to help manage various conditions including pregnancy, weight loss, lower-back pain, high cholesterol and blood pressure, asthma, heart disease, depression, diabetes, and pain.
  • Dental coverage (10%): Dental coverage for adults, children, both, or neither
  • Metal levels (5%): Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and catastrophic plans

Cost to value (25%): To get this metric, we analyzed the following costs across multiple age groups and two ZIP codes: physician and specialist copays, monthly premiums, and Bronze and Silver plan deductibles.

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