Kaiser Permanente Thrive

3.6

Overall Score

6 User Reviews

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Kaiser Permanente was founded in 1945 and has since grown to now employ more than 177,000 people. Founded in Oakland, California, this insurance company has about 10.1 million members in Colorado, Georgia, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, California, Virginia, Maryland, and DC. Its subsidiaries are the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Permanente Medical Groups. 

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#7 Kaiser Permanente Thrive Logo Kaiser Permanente Thrive

3.6

Overall
Score

6 User Reviews

The Good

  • Types of Plans Offered
  • Member Resources
  • Unique Features
  • Customer Service

Types of Plans Offered

The plan selection at Kaiser Permanente is quite admirable. In fact, even shopping for a plan with Kaiser is a lot more positive of an experience than it is with many other companies. Unlike these, Kaiser won't require you to give out personal information like your date of birth or parts of your medical history to get even the most basic information about their health plans. You just say whether you are turning 65 during the year, whether you get insurance through an employer, and whether you are looking for a plan for yourself or for a group. Getting specific prices for a plan will require further information, of course. But providing this will, at least, give you access to brief descriptions of the types of plans available and the overall coverage you can expect.

Kaiser offers Medicaid, Medicare, HSAs, and even short-term insurance for the in-between times. They also have PPOs (and a network of 658,000 PHCS providers). There are student health plans, out-of-area indemnity plans, deductible plans for individuals, and Point of Service plans too. Each type of plan covers a certain percentage of preventative care, specialty care, case management, care management, and pharmacy expenses (made possible by their partnership with MedImpact). Benefits and specific percentages, of course, depend on the individual plan. Dental and vision insurance are also possible through Kaiser. For Medicare recipients, there's a preventative dental plan that comes with a $35 deductible and a 20% coinsurance rate. The Dental Choice plan (a PPO for individuals) is an option for non-Medicare recipients and comes with access to 567,000 dentists around the country. For business owners looking to insure a group of employees, there are a few different plans to choose from as well: a dental PPO, a traditional dental plan, and two types of plans termed PreventaMax plans. For the traditional options, you might expect a coverage rate of 20% for restorative dental work and 50% for major restorative work. Vision insurance is available as deductible plans and covers an eye exam. Any further vision benefits will depend on the health plan you have and what your employer decides to purchase.

Member Resources

Members are treated well at Kaiser. My Health Manager is the name for the online member portal through which you access your account. Through My Health Manager, you can:

  • View the benefits of your health plan.
  • Make a payment.
  • Download a form you need.
  • Set up (or change) a date for a doctor's appointment.
  • Email your doctor about a minor question.
  • View your medical record.
  • Extra abilities like viewing your medical records make this member portal, even more, personalized and convenient. Plus, Kaiser has a mobile app that allows you do many of these same tasks.

For members, there's also a dedicated FAQs section that gives you answers to questions you may have about getting an ID card, looking up a doctor in Kaiser's network, and paying a bill. There's a dedicated member phone number to contact as well. Kaiser eases not only logistics but also healthcare education. Members and nonmembers alike can use Kaiser's glossary of healthcare terms, which might come in handy when shopping for a plan, learning how to use your benefits, looking up a provider, and more. Resources like these make the company more transparent and customer-centric.

Unique Features

Kaiser Permanente offers many of the same added advantages that other healthcare insurance companies offer: discounts on health-related products, education about health care as an industry, and a mobile app. That being said, each company puts its own twist on these features, and Kaiser is no exception. The mobile app for this company is called the KP Mobile App, and it allows members to do many of the same tasks that the member portal does. These include contacting your doctor, making a payment, finding a doctor, and viewing your medical history. Kaiser has a lot of different discounts as well. Some of these are for fitness club memberships and for massages or chiropractic work. In addition, Kaiser has a wealth of information in their health guide. If you're trying to make a healthy change in your diet, if you're trying to quit smoking or lose weight, or if you're struggling to manage a chronic illness, these resources would be helpful for you. There are tons of physician-approved resources you can read about taking control of the aspects of your health that you can control and coping with the ones you can't. It's also worth mentioning that Kaiser Permanente has a large provider network and a pCHS network of 658,000 providers. Though the company is limited in terms of location, it has a great network for you to choose from.

Customer Service

Kaiser Permanente values high-quality care, and customer service is an area where they deliver this. The company website is very helpful, with lots of details about the types of plans Kaiser offers, member resources, and ways to make the most of the plan benefits. But Kaiser offers plenty of ways for customers to contact the company as well. These include a live chat tool, phone numbers, and mailing addresses. They also have links on social media sites. One of the best features of the Kaiser site, though, is its plan finder. To look up basic information about their health plans, you don't have to provide very personal information (though to get specific prices and quotes, some personal information is necessary). This tool is so easy to use and is nonintrusive. Kaiser also makes it possible for customers to get help in either English or Spanish as well. Flexibility is found in other areas too. With a health plan here, you can switch doctors at any time and use the find a doctor tool to find a different one. Kaiser Permanente has more than 10 million members. With so many customers to serve, the company has developed a wide selection of resources. They are transparent about their health plans, they make navigating the member portal easy and intuitive, and they anticipate customer questions well.

The Bad

  • Service Areas
  • Tracking Claims

Service Areas

The first weaknesses-and the one that will probably have the biggest impact-is the span of states that Kaiser can work with. This company limits itself to just several states out of 50, which means they aren't even an option for you if you live outside of these states.

Tracking Claims

Kaiser doesn't make it clear if you can track the status of a claim around the clock. If you've filed a claim, you may want to check the status of it often and possibly outside of business hours. Even if you can currently do that, it would be helpful if the company made it clearer how to do so.

The Bottom Line

Kaiser Permanente is easily a recommended company for health insurance. They have so many different types of plans, including dental and vision coverage, and their member resources leave very little to be desired.

In fact, the main reason you may not want to use Kaiser's insurance might just be that you don't live in a region that this company services. For that reason, Kaiser is admittedly much more limited than competing insurance agencies. Depending on the type of coverage you're looking for, Kaiser's plan details might not match up either. But for the right customers, this company offers transparency and a common goal to keep you healthy, both of which build trust.

 

User Reviews

2.4

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  • 2

    Barb

    November 17th, 2017 Vancouver, WA DETAILS

    Value for your money
    Quality of product or service
    Customer Service
    Company trustworthiness

    In my opinion and personal experience, the Vancouver, Wa /Portland, Ore. Kaiser system is overloaded, overwhelmed and understaffed. You will pay premiums every month, but waits for dentists or any specialists will be over two months. They take your dental premiums but they don't have enough openings for new patients and you are instructed to simply keep calling back. There is no accountability or waiting list to help you actually gain access to the only dental care that is covered by your premiums. There is no legal accountability for malpractice, you are forced to go to arbitration. I was an RN, and I have never seen worse care, been denied or minimized access to care, or seen more inconsistent levels of care in my life, and I have lived in other countries with socialized medicine that were medically 20 years behind the USA. I have been mis led, misinformed, and was shocked some of the doctors I talked to were extremely misinformed or 15 years out of date with common medical knowledge. I have suffered permanent damages as a result of misdiagnosis, and denial of standard of care. Trying to obtain appropriate corrective medical care has resulted in verbal abuse from the head of the department, every thing I reported was dismissed and demeaned. I devote about 4 hours a week on the phone or in person to Kaiser issues. Even though I paid premiums automatically through Bill Pay, they charged a credit card for the same premiums a week after they were already paid. This happened more than once. I think there are a few good people there who try there best to compensate for the situation, and I appreciate them very much....but I think most are overwhelmed and quit caring. It saddens me to see Kaiser continue to actively advertise and recruit new memberships when they can't handle the case loads they have today.

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  • 0

    Polly

    August 4th, 2017 Woodburn, OR

    We pay over $800 a month for health insurance. When the time came and we called the ambulance for for an emergency and the paramedics said it was not life threatening so we pass on going to the emergency room.. Kaiser refuses to pay any portion of the bill. We actually saved the insurance company money and they screw us over by not helping pay anything on the bill but make us pay 100%!! whats the point of insurance if they are not going to cover anything during an emergency???? I hate this company and I don't recommend them to anyone. They are such scammers and yes I am very pissed off.

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  • 0

    Zhanna Kolesova

    June 20th, 2017

    They keep sending me the bill that I paid long time ago by credit card, and neither multiple phone calls, nor sending mail helped to resolve the issue. Now they are threatening me with the collection agency. That's insanity. One phone call should have been enough to resolve an issue like that. And that's not the only issue, it's just the one I am still fighting with at the moment, although I am no longer their client, and I will never ever chose them as my insurance provider again, and I will warn as many people as possible on all the review sites that I can find, to stay away from them.

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  • 8

    Mark

    June 12th, 2017

    Our family has used Kaiser for over 30 years. It has taken good care of us through routine and emergency needs and we have appreciated the preventive and needed health care we have received. It can be frustrating to wait for certain parameters to be reached for some surgeries, but otherwise, they are right on for getting things done. As my family has grown and left home, the biggest complaint is that Kaiser is not easily located in the states where they now live. Kaiser is good for covering emergency treatment in those areas, but it would be nice to have regular doctors and health care available there too.

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  • 9

    Jenna LeStarge

    June 7th, 2017

    I really like the Kaiser approach to health care. It is great for kids. I had my last baby at Kaiser- Walnut Creek and I was blown away by the experience. The midwives were so professional, and their holistic approach was so refreshing.

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  • 9

    Kenneth Okerlund

    June 7th, 2017 Orem, UT

    Really good coverage, especially with the dental insurance. The only thing I don't like is the limited availability depending on location, but they still have decent policy on going to another location if you can't make it to them.

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