The National Committee for Quality Assurance rated health plans in 2019. It looked at a variety of factors, including whether plans were NCQA certified, how satisfied patients were with plans, and how well plans covered and handled both preventative services and treatments for policyholders. Using that data, which you can dive further into to see details about plans in your state, TrueCoverage offers some findings about the Best and Worst States for Healthcare.

Health Care Choice: Best and the Worst States for Healthcare

Having a wide range of plans to choose from is important. The more options there are to choose from, the likelier it becomes that your chosen plan will align with your individual needs and budget. A wider selection also gives you a chance to consider a greater number of providers, which can help you find a company that offers the customer service experience you want.

We looked at the number of plans offered in each state with NCQA accreditation. While these aren’t the only plans in a given state — or even that they are the only decent options in that state, for that matter — this number allowed us to rank states according to which ones had more choices.

When it comes to the number of health insurance plans available, these states are at the head of the pack:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Missouri 
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

States that fall behind when it comes to choice (e.g. any state with fewer than five NCQA-accredited plans) include the following:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • North Dakota
  • Wyoming

If you’re interested in how many NCQA-certified plans were offered in your state as of 2019, you can consult the table below to find out more. Note that data and certifications do change over the years, but this provides a good overall idea of how much choice you have in each state.

StateNCQA-accredited plans
New Hampshire8
New Jersey15
New Mexico11
New York21
North Carolina9
North Dakota4
Rhode Island8
South Carolina6
South Dakota6
West Virginia5

Quality of Health Insurance Plans: Best and the Worst States for Healthcare

Often, the states where a greater number of plans are available also have higher overall ratings or higher customer satisfaction ratings. That’s not surprising, given that competition does tend to create higher quality customer experiences.

But it’s important to note that some states where numerous plans are available to have lower overall ratings, and some of the highest overall ratings come from states that don’t have as many options. Here’s a look at some of the best and worst states for healthcare when it comes to overall quality ratings from the NCQA.

States with the “Best” Quality

For our purposes, a state is deemed to have plans of the “best” quality if the average rating for NCQA-certified plans in that state is around 4.0 or higher, or the plans have exceptionally high customer satisfaction, treatment, or prevention ratings on average. 

By that metric, Wisconsin is one of the states at the top of the list. It has 23 NCQA-accredited plans and many other plans to choose from. The NCQA-accredited plans in this state have some of the highest scores on the board, with many scoring 4.0 or higher with both treatment and prevention. 

Vermont, which has only five accredited plans, offers some of the plans with the best prevention scores, and Rhode Island, which has only eight accredited plans, has potentially the highest overall ratings from the NCQA regarding prevention.

Other states that score high with prevention include Pennsylvania, North Dakota, New York, Colorado, California, and Illinois. Illinois also scores high overall when it comes to treatment. Arkansas scores low on prevention, but it still has a fairly high customer satisfaction score across plans.

States with the “Worst” Quality

It’s important to remember that these figures are all relative. The NCQA rated plans in each state in several categories on a scale from 1 to 5. States listed in the best section for quality tended to have scores ranging from 3.5 to 5 for each plan and average scores of 3.5 and higher. 

States we’re considering the worst in quality had overall scores of 2.5 or lower, with many plans getting rated at 1 to 2 in some categories. 

Arizona had only a few accredited plans and overall low scores for customer satisfaction. Other states with low or very low customer satisfaction scores included Nevada, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. 

When it comes to prevention, plans in states such as South Carolina, Ohio, Nevada, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kansas, Arkansas, and Alaska also had lower scores. 

The states with perhaps the lowest overall ratings were Nevada and Mississippi, though it does depend on which plans you look at.

What Does This Mean for People Who Need Health Insurance?

If you live in a state with overall bad ratings and shows up in one of our “worst” categories, does that mean you’re out of luck when it comes to buying health insurance? No. Even in states that have overall poor ratings from the NCQA, there are often plans with high ratings. 

Virginia, for example, only runs in the middle of the pack with overall ratings. But one plan available in this state is one of the five plans that gets a 5.0 rating from NCQA. Other states that have at least one plan with a 5.0 rating include New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. 

Find the Right Health Plan for You

Shopping for health insurance can get complex. Contact TrueCoverage to get assistance from an experienced agent in finding a plan that works for you. No matter what state you’re in, we can help you find coverage that best meets your needs.

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