I applied online, and surprising to me, they both accepted me within a pretty short time. In each case I had asked for a relatively higher deductible, lower premium plan, with dental (still not sure I should have done that.) One plan was a little more expensive than the other, yet I still chose it.
Find out why...
Well, sad to say both companies sent Welcome packets that were less than 100% customer friendly. In each case I had questions. So in each case I moved from online to the phone and called for help.
I was in and out of my Kaiser call within 10 minutes, questions answered, nice day wished and off I go.
Blue Cross, on the other hand, had the automated voicemail tree from hell. Oh, yeah, they were trying to be all fancy and have voice recognition, only it wasn't recognizing my voice. It kept misunderstanding my slowly, clearly-stated commands and taking me to the wrong branch.
I've heard that quality control people listen to what's going on even before you get connected to a live person. In my case they heard more than their fair share of cursing and screeching: "No, I said four, FOUR!!!"
Frankly by the time I was able to get to a live person I asked for how to decline coverage.
If that's how difficult they make it for prospective customers, it must really suck once you're trying to work out a claim or something. At least that was my reasoning.
It's worth $40/month not to deal with that voice recognition tree ever again!