California Medicare Options  -  Health Net versus LA Care comparison and guide

compare Health Net and LA Care for California


Health Net versus LA Care Comparison


The battle for LA's HMO heart in here!

Health Net and LA Care typically come us as the best priced HMO's in the area depending on what Kaiser's doing.


For many Californian's, it's just a question of cost and affordability.


We've seen big gains for the regional HMO's like LA Care.


Health Net definitely has a bigger footprint Statewide but health insurance is still a local game.


Let's compare the two carriers side by side.


Usually, we compare two carriers across the three major markets in California but LA Care only participates in the individual/family market (including Covered California).


That's where they really go head to head.


Health Net operates in the Small Business and Senior markets as well but LA Care does not.


First...some credentials Please!....








Let's look at the two carriers at a top level view first.



LA Care and Health Net Top Level Comparison

Let's start with Health Net since they came first.


Health Net was created with Anthem Blue Cross was forced to carve out their HMO business decades ago.


Since then, they've been an aggressive carrier through all the turmoil our market has endured in the last 20 years.


We date ourselves but we've been here through all of that (25+ years):



Health Net quickly moved to PPO network plans and now have a pretty good balance between the two.


It's important to get more information on HMO versus PPO to understand the differences.


Even though Health Net offers a full suite of plans including PPO's and EPO's, HMO is still their bread and butter.


It's where they compete (aside from aggressively priced Supplement plans).


HMO is where they really go head to head with LA Care.


Speaking of LA Care...


LA Care Introduction

LA Care really came on strong with the advent of Covered California 2014


Which brings up a good point...


Both LA Care and Health Net have participated in Covered California since 2014


LA Care is an example of a truly regional HMO competing in California.


There was time where these regional HMO's had trouble competing with the Statewide (if not Nationwide) carriers such as Anthem Blue Cross or United.


Enter Covered Ca.


Once LA Care agreed to participate in Covered Ca, millions of shoppers would see them side by side against Kaiser, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and a host of other carriers.


Leveling of the playing field.


We started to see enrollment for LA Care increase significantly.


That's only continued with each new wave of Open Enrollment and rate increase.


Let's jump into the Individual Family Comparison!


Individual and Family Comparison between Health Net and LA Care

We'll compare the carriers across these categories:

  1. Price
  2. Customer Service
  3. Network
  4. Online Services
  5. RX


Let's start with the big one...Pricing!


Price Comparison between LA Care and Health Net

First, keep in mind that the benefits, rates, and networks are mandated to be the same on or off exchange.


That generally means we enroll people on-exchange just in case there's a tax credit.


Let's start with this...


Pricing is the reason Health Net and LA Care are even in play


It's no secret that monthly premiums have roughly doubled in 4 years without a tax credit.


The tax credit helps to hide the increase but those people have also been hit.


When you run your on-exchange quote below, take a look at the different carriers:


quote and compare covered ca health plans in california


You'll notice that LA Care is generally one of the lowest 1-2 carriers listed at each benefit level.


For many people, it's a function of being able to afford their health insurance at all!


Health net is generally a notch or two above LA Care for HMO.


But very close.


These two carriers are strongest in the greater Los Angeles area.


Health Net does have a wider Statewide presence but they go head to head in LA County.


Everyone's situation is different but you'll typically find LA Care just above Molina and just below Health Net in terms of pricing for a given level.


Here's an article for comparing the Covered Ca plan levels and we have a great tool called the PlanFinder to really walk you through the process step by step.


So LA Care generally wins on the pricing side...what then matters when comparing LA Care and Health Net?


Network Comparison for Health net and LA Care

We're going to jump right over customer service (we'll come back to that) for networks!


This is the biggest difference.


Keep in mind...the benefits are standardized.


A silver plan has to be comparable or identical to another Silver plan in terms of what it covers.


That makes it easier to compare.


One of the big differences between the carriers is the list of doctors and hospitals you're able to see.


Both carriers are strong with the HMO model.


  • Tradionally, LA Care has a much smaller network than Anthem Blue Cross or Blue Shield HMO but that's not true against Health net!
  • Health Net went real aggressive on both their pricing and network in LA County.


This allowed them to undercut Anthem and Blue Shield's HMO pricing significantly.


It also means their list of providers (doctors and facilities) is smaller than the two carriers.


They really wanted to compete on pricing.


LA Care is also a narrow network of doctors.


So how do we adequately compare these two?


Run your free quote below:


quote and compare covered ca health plans in california


Under any plan, you'll see a link for Provider Search.


Make sure to compare Health Net's HMO plan against LA Care for an accurate comparison.


If you have doctors that you see now, ask them what "HMO Covered Ca plans" they participate with.


Between the online search and asking the doctor offices, that will give you a good indication of the two carrier's networks as they pertain to you.


Customer Service Between LA Care and Health Net

Both carriers are HMO.


Customer service is surprisingly good in spite of this!


It's hard to get excited about Customer Service for any of the carriers but there's something to be said against the trend towards nationwide carriers.


The local regional carriers are just more responsive.


This is partially true for Health net and and much more so for LA Care.


LA Care has the slight edge here.


Online Services Comparison for LA Care and Health Net

Health Net is stronger for online services which is to be expected.


  • They're bigger and have more resources to spend the capital required for online web development.
  • LA Care is coming along but that's not their strength.


It's not a deal breaker if your doctors are in-network and the pricing is better.


That seems to beat all other considerations for people attracted to LA Care.


RX list for Health Net and LA Care

When the pricing pressure hit in 2014 with the roll-out of Obamacare, there were really only two ways carriers to manage costs.


One was the doctor re-imbursement (which affected the networks) and the other was the list of allowed medications.


The RX list.


This is the list of accepted medications.


Health Net and LA Care both manage this list quite a bit mainly because they're HMO's.


The lists are pretty comparable.


Especially since we're even seeing the paring down of medications with the big carriers like Anthem Blue Cross.


These lists tend to change each year but HMO's may have more changes during the year.


LA Care versus Health Net Wrap Up

This is the battle for LA Care's low cost HMO market.


Both carriers are battling head to head in this space.


Here's how to see which is right for you:

  1. Run your quote to compare Health Net and LA Care side by side for you
  2. Check your doctors for each plan to make sure they participate or see new doctors available
  3. Use PlanFinder to compare the plan benefits
  4. Enroll online quickly for either LA Care or Health Net


Of course, we're happy to help with any questions you have.

You can run your Health Net versus LA Care health quote here to view rates and plans side by side from the major carriers...Free.


Again, there is absolutely no cost to you for our services.  Email us at