Kaiser Permanente vs United Healthcare

kaiser Permanente vs United Healthcare: Which Company is Best in 2024?

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Kaiser Permanente is a U.S.-based integrated managed care conglomerate founded in 1945. Its headquarter is situated in Oakland, California. Founded by Henry J. Kaiser and Sidney Garfield, Kaiser Permanente consists of three separate but interdependent groups. The Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. (KFHP), Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, and Permanente Medical Groups. It is the largest managed care organization in the United States.

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated, or United Healthcare, is an American for-profit healthcare company. Founded in 1977 by Richard T. Burke, the company is headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota. It was the largest healthcare company globally, with 242.2 billion dollars in 2019. As of 2020, the company has been ranked 7th on the Fortune 500 list.

Kaiser Permanente vs. United Healthcare

Both Kaiser Insurance and United Healthcare offer their members a wide range of benefits. Here is a brief comparison between these two companies to help you decide which company meets your needs:

Network coverage

Kaiser Permanente offers health care insurance to its consumers in 9 states of the United States. These states include California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and Washington D.C. On the other hand, United Healthcare offers services throughout the nation. As a result, there are more healthcare professionals and hospital facilities than Kaiser.

Insurance plan type

Kaiser Permanente and United Healthcare offer their members HMO (Home Maintenance Organisation). HMOs generally cost lower than other plans and are predictable. With the HMO plan, first, you must visit your Primary Care Physician (PCP) and consult with them. If they fail to treat you, they will refer you to someone else within the network. HMO doesn’t cover your insurance outside the network.

Besides HMO, United Healthcare also offers PPO (Preferred Provider Organisation). PPO members are not restricted to only receiving care within the network. They can make direct appointments with doctors outside the web without any referral. In this case, patients must pay the doctors first and file a reimbursement claim. PPO plans are flexible but come with a higher premium cost.

Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part C plans include the Original Medicare (Parts A & B) and other additional benefits.

Kaiser PermanenteUnited Healthcare
Home Maintenance Organisation (HMO)Exclusive Provider Organisation (EPO)

Preferred Provider Organisation (PPO)

Health Maintenance Organisation (HMO)

Private Fee-for-Service (PFFO) / Point-of-service (POS)

In United Healthcare, Medicare Advantage plans sometimes come with Prescription Drug Coverage (PDC Part D). Meanwhile, Kaiser’s Medicare Advantage plan always includes PDC Part D. So Kaiser Insurance offers hospital care, medical services, and prescription drug coverage, all under the same umbrella. Kaiser calls their Medicare Advantage plans Senior Advantage plans.

Insurance plans for Small business employers.

Both Kaiser Permanente and United Healthcare offer the following insurance plans for small business employers –

  • Bronze Plan
  • Silver Plan
  • Gold Plan
  • Platinum Plan

The following tables will help you understand how much you can save with Kaiser Insurance and United Healthcare:

Savings with Kaiser Permanente:

Services OffereK.P.K.P. Bronze 60 HSA HMO

(Your Cost)

KP Silver 70 HMO 1500/40

(Your CostK.P.

K.P. Gold 80 HMO Co-insurance

(Your CostK.P.

K.P. Platinum 90 HMO

(Your Cost)

Preventive CareNoneNoneNoneNone
Primary Care40% after deductible$40$35$20
Inpatient Hospital Care40% after deductible30% after deductible20%$290 a day up to 5 days
Outpatient Surgery40% after deductible30% after deductible20%$290
Prenatal and PostnatalNoneNoneNoneNone
Delivery and Inpatient Well-Baby Care (Maternity)40% after deductible30% after deductible20%$290 a day up to 5 days
Lab Tests40% after deductible$35 after deductible$35$20
X-rays40% after deductible40% after deductible$50$40
Urgent Care40% after deductible$40$35$20
Ambulance Services40% after deductible$250 after deductible$250$150
Generic Drugs40% after deductible$20$15$5
Specialty Drugs40% after deductible30% after the $250 brand deductible20% up to $250 per prescription10% up to $250 per prescription
Emergency Department Visit40% after deductible$250 after deductible$250$150
Mental Health Visit40% after deductible$40$35$20
MRI, CT, PET40% after deductible$250 after deductible20%$150

Savings with United Healthcare:

Bronze Plan60% of the covered benefits
Silver Plan70% of the covered benefits
Gold Plan80% of the covered benefits
Platinum Plan90% of the covered benefits


Industrial Ratings

Kaiser Permanente and United Healthcare are among the top health insurance companies globally. The Standard and Poor’s gave Kaiser Permanente a financial strength rating of “A+.” United Healthcare scored a financial strength rating of A.A. A.A.-.” This means both the companies do not have any problem with the consumers’ payments. But United Healthcare is a step ahead of Kaiser Insurance with A.A.AA.”

We can conclude that both Kaiser Insurance and United Healthcare offer their members a wide range of benefits. It is your choice to decide which company you will choose based on your needs and financial strength.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Kaiser accept United Healthcare?

If you are a member of United Healthcare, you will not be able to use Kaiser Permanente’s facilities. In the same way, if you have Kaiser, you cannot use doctors or hospitals registered under United Healthcare. So it is your decision about which provider you want to use. If you often see doctors outside Kaiser providers, it is better to opt for United Healthcare.

Do you have to be an AARP member to get United health care?

United Healthcare pays AARP royalty fees so they can use its properties and services. AARP uses these fees for general purposes and does not provide insurance directly to the consumers. Instead, you get the insurance facilities through the insurance companies. Hence, it would be best if you did not belong to AARP to enroll in United Healthcare.

We tried to provide you with important information on Kaiser Permanente vs. United Healthcare. We would appreciate it if you give us feedback on this article.

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