Kaiser Permanente Review

RATINGS BY CATEGORY
Premium Price
Claims Process
Consumer Feedback
Financial Strength
OVERALL

Kaiser Permanente Insurance Overview

Kaiser Permanente is a nonprofit healthcare organization that operates across nine States and Washington, D.C. They currently have footprints in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia, Oregon, Washington, and Ohio.

The Kaiser Permanente organization currently employs over 175,000 people and services almost 9 million healthcare members. They were founded in 1945 by Henry Kaiser and Sidney Garfield, and are headquartered in Oakland, California.

Kaiser Permanente Products

Even though Kaiser Permanente is a nonprofit organization, they still offer a wide selection of health related products for individuals, families and businesses. Their most popular items include:

  • Individual Health Insurance
  • Family Health Insurance
  • Medicare Plans
  • Employer-sponsored Health Insurance

Kaiser Permanente Consumer Complaints

Kaiser Permanente is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau and currently has an F rating. This is very odd because there are only 38 complaints on file over the last 3 years, which is about 5% of the total number of complaints some of their competitors have. Those same competitors have A and A+ ratings, despite having hundreds of complaints.

The Better Business Bureau has come under fire for selling good ratings to companies that are willing to pay. There are numerous cases of ratings going up overnight once a company pays a fee to the BBB. This example with Kaiser seems very odd, given their very low number of complaints. Because of this, the BBB rating is not factored into the final star total assigned on this review.

Kaiser Permanente Consumer Research Reports

J.D. Power and Associates –Kaiser Permanente scored the highest ratings possible in customer satisfaction during the 2012 Health Insurance Plan Study put on by JD Power and Associates. In the three geographical regions we checked, California, Pacific Northwest and the South Atlantic region, Kaiser Permanente scored 5 out of 5 and ranked number one against all its competitors.

Consumer Reports –Consumer Report’s most recent health insurance plan ranking put Kaiser Permanente at number one in the three States we compared. On a scale of 0 to 100, they received an 89 in California, 88 in Washington, and 86 in Georgia. Each score was the highest issued for the particular State. Where Kaiser Permanente really excelled at was the Prevention category, scoring a 4, 5 and 5 (out of 5).

For information on how we use consumer research reports, click here.

Kaiser Permanente Financial Ratings

A.M. Best Rating – Not Rated

Fitch Rating – A+

S & P Rating – A+

Kaiser Permanente Overall Rating

Positive

Kaiser Permanente scored the highest on both JD Power and Consumer Report’s latest health insurance plan studies in customer satisfaction. They have very few complaints on the Better Business Bureau and other consumer forums compared to their competitors. Additionally, they are not-for-profit, which some people may find as an added benefit.

Negative

Kaiser Permanente is an all-in-one health care provider that covers patients on both ends. This can become an issue because they are the insurance company as well as the care provider. This seems to be a conflict of interest because they control both the treatment and the money. If a particular treatment is very expensive, the concern would be that they could deny the procedure because ultimately they would have to foot the bill.

For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.

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Review Information

Summary
Reviewer
Eric Stauffer
Review Date
Reviewed
Kaiser Permanente
Author Rating
4

Comments

  1. Sharon White says

    I purchased Kaiser Perm ins thru the healthcare.gov program. Was accepted for a policy for $167/mo. Six months later, my premium shot up to $1414/mo. with no warning, no explanation, no letters, nothing, just a bill. I could barely afford the $167 so now am forced to cancel my insurance. I would also like to add that they milked me for almost $1500 for unnecessary tests AND put me thru hell for almost 2 months, wondering if I had cancer…which I didn’t. All this just before they jacked my rates thru the roof. WHAT A SCAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stay away from Kaiser!!

  2. A says

    I have been a Kaiser member for 26 years and have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (1986), Lumbar Degenerative Discs (2005), Osteoarthritis (1995), Chronic Pain (1999 or 2000),Gastrointestinal issue since birth(2 surgeries to remove parts of my intestine 1990 and 2003), Migraines since. Pre-teen. I continued to work til 2002 while taking pain, muscle relaxer and nerve blocking meds for the last 24, at this time I could no longer. sit or stand for long periods of time and the coordination and stiffness in my hands made it difficult to type. I jumped through all of Kaiser’s hoops pain management, physical therapy, spine clinic and any other suggestions, however these issues dont get better with time. I had a discussion with my doctor who stated I could no longer do my job (2002-2005) these discussions are not reflected in my medical records. Kaiser also has the dates of the initial diagnosis wrong. I filed a grievance with Kaiser to fix these issues and was denied. Because of their laziness (complete records are not electronic yet) and some of my doctors are no longer with Kaiser nothing will be fixed thus causing me to possibly never getting approved for Social Security Benefits (original file date was 2006 after being diagnosed with Lumbar Degenerative Discs), I have spoken with several Disability attorneys and the second I tell them I have Kaiser I’m told that’s the problem with my disability claim.

    I had a frank discussion with a Kaiser doctor that stated “it’s Kaiser’s policy that they cannot put in a patient’s medical record that I can no longer work only that my condition is getting worse and they are not allowed to complete any evaluation papers regarding a patient’s mobility or lack thereof.

    I have filed a complaint with the California Department of H M O regulators.

    I use to praise Kaiser for their services and doctors, however the last ten years or so it feels more like they are herding cattle. Doctors dont really listen, they have to see X amount of patients per day, they don’t have time to connect with their patients, their histories, other diseases, and new symptoms. I have since been diagnosed with Lipid Metobolism disorder, Thyroid disease and several other issues, which I believe that if my doctor had some time she could look into the big picture, according to my research on the Thyroid and Lipid disease they might be connected. I have had to remind my doctor about blood work that needed to be done.

    When my husband retires we will be looking for a new health care provider, no longer willing to be part of the herd. I agree with your post that because Kaiser Permanente is the provider of services and the insurer it is a huge conflict.

  3. Theresa says

    After being on Kaiser from the age of six months to now at 58 and never having a problem, all that has changed. In the last few years the rates have gone up and up and service has gotten worse. It’s all about the money. I have a chronic, painful condition- arthritis in my neck (diagnosed by a Kaiser Dr.) and TMJ. I have had an RX for a pain med and muscle relaxer for years, which was used only as needed and sparingly. I was sent a notice recently that they had assigned me a new Dr. after years of seeing the old one who never gave me a problem with refills. I recently sent in a refill request for my meds and the request was denied saying I had to come in for “lab tests” and an evaluation to determine “if I actually had the condition and or if it still existed” WTF??? NO! I’m not stupid and know Arthritis and TMJ do not resolve. They are permanant conditions and “lab tests etc. are NOT necessary for these conditions. They only want me to come in and pay the MUCH higher than before co-pays to run tests that are not necessary and are worthless as far as my conditions. They kept me going through tons of red tape and hearings I didn’t request only to keep denying me my meds. NO more Kaiser for us. We are leaving and going to a new health plan. Kaiser is no longer the good company it once was. Now it’s corporate greed.

  4. says

    Eric,

    We have had Kaiser coverage for 30+ years here in California.
    However, we may retire to a state not covered by Kaiser.

    So I can compare apples to apples, for example in Nevada, can you point me towards organizations that compete with Kaiser, having similar end to end plans?

    Many thanks

    • Eric Stauffer says

      Hi Ken,

      I did some digging for Nevada specifically, and unfortunately it looks like most of the companies rate below the national average in terms of customer satisfaction and overall scores. One specific report I looked at was Consumer Reports, but it is behind a pay wall so I cannot put the link here.

      Despite being below the national average, the top-rated in Nevada is Saint Mary’s Health First for private HMO. I would start my search with them.

      Best of luck. It may be difficult to replicate what you have now with Kaiser, but I wish you the best.

      Eric Stauffer

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