Humana vs. Blue Cross Blue Shield

In this article...
  • Humana and Blue Cross Blue Shield are giants in the health insurance industry, and each company offers Medicare plans in certain parts of the country. How do these industry leaders compare against each other? We review Humana vs. BCBS below to help you compare your possible Medicare coverage options.

Humana and Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS, which is part of the Anthem family of brands) are two of the largest health insurance companies in the U.S.

The differences between these industry leaders may be difficult to recognize, but we’ve done our best to highlight the comparisons between Humana and Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Medicare plans they offer to help you compare your potential Medicare coverage options.

Humana is one of the most popular insurance companies in the country. Nearly 1 out of every 5 Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plan beneficiaries is enrolled in a Humana Medicare Advantage plan.


Blue Cross Blue Shield is part of the Anthem family of brands which opperate under different names according to the state or region where the company does business.

For example, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona offers Medicare plans in the state of Arizona, but plans might be offered by Florida Blue in Florida or by other names depending on where you live. You may even see names like “Anthem,” "Horizon,” “Empire,” “Highmark” and other names associated with the Anthem brand.

Humana vs. Blue Cross Blue Shield
  Pros Cons
Humana

Medicare plans are offered in many parts of the country

Plans include large networks of providers, doctors and pharmacies

Some competitors in your area may offer more $0 premium Medicare Advantage plans than Humana offers

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Wide variety of plans available in many areas of the U.S.

Large networks of participating health care providers

Medicare plan quality ratings could be higher

Many different affiliate companies can make it slightly more confusing to shop for a plan where you live

Humana vs. Blue Cross Blue Shield: Types of Insurance Plans Offered

Both companies sell a variety of Medicare insurance plans, including Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans in certain parts of the country.

One primary difference is that Blue Cross Blue Shield also provides individual insurance plans outside of the types of Medicare plans listed above, while Humana doesn't offer some of the same individual non-Medicare plans.

Areas Served

Both companies have near-nationwide service areas. Humana has a presence in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and its Medicare Advantage plans are sold in 90% of U.S. counties.

Through its various regional affiliate companies, Blue Cross Blue Shield sells Medicare Advantage plans in 44 states, Medicare Part D plans in 41 states and Medicare Supplement Insurance in all 50 states.  

Provider Access

Blue Cross Blue Shield and Humana are two of the largest insurers in the U.S. with two of the most expansive provider networks.

Blue Cross Blue Shield is accepted by more than 90% of doctors and specialists. Doctor.com reports more than 916,000 health care providers in the Blue Cross Blue Shield network.

Humana boasts more than 638,000 network providers according to Doctor.com. Humana has one of the largest pharmacy networks in the U.S. thanks to several partnerships with major chain retailers.

Individual plan networks, availability and coverage can vary from one plan and one area to another. Be sure to check with your doctor or health care provider to find out what insurance plans they accept. You can also work with a licensed insurance agent to find out if your doctor is in a plan network before enrolling in the plan.

Financial Ratings

Humana is rated “BBB” from Fitch Ratings, “BBB+” from Standard & Poor’s, “Baa3” from Moody’s and “BBB-” from A.M. Best, all of which are considered strong financial ratings.

Most of the Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliates and regional subsidiaries have strong ratings with the leading credit agencies.

Medicare Star Ratings

Every year, Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system. Stars are used by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to indicate various measures of plan quality, with five stars being the highest score.

Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliate companies are all rated individually but averaged 3.75 stars for Medicare Advantage and 3.77 stars for Medicare Part D nationally in 2021.

Humana offers high-quality plans as well, with more than 9 out of 10 Medicare Advantage members being enrolled in a plan rated 4 stars or more.1

Customer Experience

Neither Blue Cross Blue Shield nor Humana take any shortcuts when it comes to the customer experience. Both companies allow anyone to look up participating providers online, and members can log into an online portal to perform a variety of tasks related to their benefits.

Both companies have mobile apps for more streamlined access along with phone, email and social media support. Each customer experience may be slightly different with Blue Cross Blue Shield, however, as each affiliate company has its own member portal. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield vs. Humana: The Verdict

Blue Cross Blue Shield and Humana are two of the largest health insurance carriers in the U.S., offering a robust portfolio of plans in nearly every region of the country that are accepted by large networks of doctors and pharmacies.

Blue Cross Blue Shield has 35 independent and locally operated affiliate companies, so not every customer experience will be the same.

Speaking with a licensed insurance agent can help you explore more differences between BCBS and Humana as you shop for best Medicare insurance plan for your needs.

  1. https://press.humana.com/news/news-details/2020/Humanas-Medicare-Advantage-Members-are-in-4-Star-and-Above-Contracts-for-2021-Reflecting-Ongoing-Commitment-to-Quality-Care-and-Improved-Health-Outcomes/default.aspx#gsc.tab=0.

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