Blue Cross Blue Shield vs. Kaiser Permanente Insurance

Which health insurance company is the best option for you and your family? Compare Blue Cross Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente side by side.

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Blue Cross Blue Shield vs. Kaiser Permanente: What You Need to Know

Blue Cross was formed in 1929 as a partnership between Baylor University Hospital and its patients who were struggling financially. The administrators of the hospital wanted to make healthcare more affordable for some patients, many of whom were Dallas public school educators on restricted budgets. The initial payment plan set up by Baylor University Hospital consisted of a 50-cent prepay each month for up to 21 days of hospitalization per year. The success of the program leads to enrollment by employees in other professions across Dallas.

After the war ended the shipyard workforce fell from 90,000 to 13,000. Only 12 of 75 medical group providers remained. On July 21, 1945, the Permanente Health Plan opened to the public to continue the health care delivery set up by Kaiser and Garfield. In 10 years, more than 300,000 people enrolled in Northern California with the support of two unions, the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union and the Retail Clerks Union.

In 1953, the name of the health plan and the hospitals were changed from Permanente to Kaiser Permanente. Even today, there are ties between the nonprofit Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals and the Permanente Medical Groups.

To learn more about each company, you can check out the Blue Cross Blue Shield Overview and Kaiser Permanente Overview.

What is Blue Cross Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente Insurance Rating?

Which health insurance company is better? We've made it easy to compare companies side by side. See how Blue Cross Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente ranked among the industry ratings.

ComparisonBlue Cross Blue ShieldKaiser Permanente
Year Founded19291945
Medicare Star Rating5 stars (out of 5)
BBB RatingA-A+
NAIC Complaint Index0.36% for group health
Market Share Percentage14.1%
Financial StrengthExcellent
S&P RatingA+

Pros & Cons of Blue Cross Blue Shield or Kaiser Permanente


Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield is financially strong and stable
  • As a subsidiary of Anthem Inc. BCBS is one of the most prominent health insurers.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield offers global coverage and a global coverage app on itunes and GooglePlay.
  • BCBS is available in 50 states and is accepted by 90% of doctors and specialists.
Kaiser Permanente
  • Affordable marketplace plans with different tiers of coverage.
  • Low complaint ratio for group health plans.


Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Blue Shields prices are slightly higher than the average.
Kaiser Permanente
  • Kaiser Permanente is only available in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia and Washington D.C.

Blue Cross Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente Mobile Apps Options

Each state has its own Blue Cross Blue Shield app on iTunes and GooglePlay. The app allows users to find doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies, view claims, pay bill, and manage prescriptions.

The Kaiser Permanente app allows users to find doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies, view claims, and pay your bill. They also offer an app called Humana Pharmacy which helps you to manage your prescriptions.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Mobile App
Blue Cross Blue Shield mobile app varies by State.
Kaiser Permanente Mobile App
iOS     3.12K users
Android     4.316,728 users

Blue Cross Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente Enrollment Process

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Blue Cross Blue Shield is available through participating employers for group insurance. You can also buy an individual or family plan directly from Blue Cross Blue Shield, the health insurance marketplace or you can get several free quotes here.

You can also contact 888.630.2583 to learn more about Blue Cross Blue Shield options for individuals and families or find a local BCBS company by visiting here.

Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente offers plans through the health insurance marketplace. You can begin searching plans here or you can get several free health insurance quotes here.

Each state has its own marketplace. If you’re not sure where to begin, visit You can also schedule a personal appointment with a local Kaiser Permanente Medicare specialist: 1-866-973-4588.

How to File a Claim with Blue Cross Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente Insurance

Blue Cross Blue Shield

If you use a network doctor or hospital, your claims will be submitted by that provider. If you see an out-of-network provider, you need to submit the claim yourself. You must submit a completed claim form or alternative documentation via fax or mailing address. As an alternative to sending a claim form, supply a description of services, a bill of charges from the provider and any medical documents you received from your provider.

For medical and/or dental services in the U.S. Puerto Rico or the U.S Virgin islands, Use these claim forms. For anywhere else or on a cruise ship outside the U.S. use the Blue Cross Blue Shield Global Core international claim forms. For prescriptions inside or outside the U.S. or U.S. territories: Use these claim forms.

Kaiser Permanente

To submit claims for reimbursement, contact member services at 1-888-901-4636. Otherwise, you should be covered except for copay. If you need reimbursement for Medicare Part D prescriptions, you must use the Member reimbursement drug claim form (PDF). For all other prescriptions (non-Medicare and Medicare without Part D) you must use this Prescription claim form (PDF).

Common Questions About Kaiser Permanente and Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance

Blue Cross Blue Shield

How to cancel Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance?

To cancel your Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, speak with an agent or call.

What is a flexible spending account by Blue Cross?

A flexible spending account is a way to set aside money for medical, dental and vision expenses or dependent care. You accumulate money in your account through pre-tax deductions from your paycheck. Your employer owns the account and may contribute to it as well as yourself, but decide how to spend the funds.

Does Blue Cross cover Lasik?

You can receive up to 25% off laser vision surgery if you have a Blue Cross Blue Shield vision plan. You can also use a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) to pay for the vision correction procedure.

What is Blue Distinction® Specialty Care?

Blue Distinction® Specialty Care focuses on hospitals and facilities that provide safe, effective treatment for specialty procedures like knee and hip replacement, cardiac care, bariatric (weight loss) surgery and transplants.

Kaiser Permanente

What is Kaiser Insurance?

Kaiser Permanente is a nonprofit, group-practice health plan with headquarters in Oakland, California. It is an example of high-quality, integrated health care.

Does Kaiser Permanente have good reviews?

Kaiser Permanente has a better than average complaint ratio, especially for it’s group plans.

Who is eligible for Kaiser Permanente?

Individuals, families, and people whose employers offer Kaiser Permanente are eligible for coverage. Kaiser also offers Medicare Supplement plans and Medicare Advantage, which is the alternative to Original Medicare.

What pharmacies accept Kaiser Permanent’s health insurance?

If your health plan benefits include a prepaid prescription drug plan, you must use a Kaiser pharmacy to obtain drugs at plan prices. You can fill your initial prescription at many MedImpact pharmacies, which include Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Kroger, Safeway, and Costco, but you’ll need to order any refills through a Kaiser Permanente pharmacy or a mail-order refill service through Kaiser.

Blue Cross Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente Insurance Contact Info

Blue Cross Blue Shield Contact Info
Address225 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60601
Phone1 (888) 630 - 2583
Kaiser Permanente Contact Info
Address1 Kaiser Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612
Phone1 (510) 271-5910

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