San Francisco has a population of just under 1 million residents, and there are six main health insurance companies that East Coast Health Insurance represents in San Francisco, each with a multitude of plans to serve you. Inevitably, you will ask which plan gives you the most San Francisco health insurance for the least money, and the answer, sadly, will be based on your response to a straight forward question: that question is, if you prefer an HMO or a PPO.
San Francisco HMO’s
If you don’t care which plan you get as long you save money, then I am going to recommend an HMO plan from HealthNet, which has the cheapest plans in San Francisco with excellent benefits. In fact, their plans are about 50% cheaper than everyone else, but of course, you will have a much smaller network and need referrals for much of your medical care. But in my opinion, that is a small price.
Additionally, the HealthNet plans in San Francisco simply are not as benefit rich as their PPO counterparts or even the HMO plan from Kaiser Permanente, which is actually the best overall plan in the city. The main issue with the HealthNet plans is that they have higher deductibles (but 0 coinsurance which basically means that your out of pocket is the same you just arrive there differently) and that much of the coverage (except for a couple of routine office visits) occurs after that deductible.
This is why I chose the Kaiser Permanente Deductible 40/3000, which covers nearly every routine medical test and visit with a small copayment. It also has both generic and name brand drug coverage. This plan is definitely my favorite, but remember I am a huge fan of HMO’s.
San Francisco PPO’s
East Coast Health Insurance does not push its preferences on to you the customer, we let you pick the plan, and in the case of a PPO lover we heartily recommend the Anthem Premier Plus 3500. This plan is very close in benefits to the Kaiser plan but puts more testing and such towards the deductible, in return, of course, no referrals. That is really the main difference besides the fact that BCBS has a fantastic network in California and the continental United States.
Blue Shield of California has just gotten quite expensive lately due to the battles that have played out in the news, but they are still a price leader in San Francisco and their 4000 deductible plan has no coinsurance so it might be an attractive plan for those looking for bare bones coverage. Of course, they have been much cheaper in the past and have had to pay for their perhaps artificially low rates and easier underwriting.
Aetna and Cigna are just too expensive (as is AARP) when compared to the non profit Blue plans and Kaiser Permanente. However, AARP (from Aetna) has simplified underwriting which tends to accept more people and with lower rates. Call us if you are over 55 to help navigate the different plan choices.