Aetna vs. Cigna

In this article...
  • Aetna and Cigna are among the most well-known health and Medicare insurance companies in the U.S. Our review will help you compare Aetna and Cigna, including the insurance plans they offer, how much they cost, what they cover and more.

There are so many different health insurance companies from which to choose, and each has their own pros and cons. Two of the largest and most popular insurers are Aetna and Cigna, and in this review, we’ll break down a comparison of these two companies to help you make a more informed decision about your coverage. 

Aetna: More Plans Offered in More Places

Aetna has Cigna beat in one respect: availability.

Aetna offers a larger variety of Medicare health plans and other types of health insurance plans in more states than Cigna. Depending on where you live, you may only have access to Aetna plans and not to any plans offered by Cigna.

Cigna: Top-Rated Medicare Plans

While Cigna and Aetna are both respected insurance companies, Cigna has higher quality rankings from Medicare in 2021.

Every year, Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system. For 2021, Cigna has an overall Medicare Star Rating of a perfect 5 stars.1 This is the top-possible Star Rating. Aetna, on the other hand, earned an overall rating of 4 Stars in 2021.2

Aetna vs. Cigna: Insurance Products Offered

The product lineups of both Aetna and Cigna cover many of the basics when it comes to health insurance. Both companies offer:

  • Individual and group health insurance
  • Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C)
  • Medicare Part D prescription drug plans
  • Medicare Supplement Insurance
  • Standalone dental and vision plans
  • Disability insurance
  • Life insurance

About the only area where the product lineups for these two companies differ is with short-term care insurance: Aetna offers short-term care coverage while Cigna does not. 

Plan Access

The availability of Aetna and Cigna insurance products varies slightly, with the biggest difference being in traditional health insurance and Medicare Advantage plans.

  • Aetna sells Medicare Advantage plans and traditional health insurance in every state
  • Cigna Medicare Advantage plans are offered in just 23 states, and the company sells traditional health insurance in only 18 states 

Both Aetna and Cigna sell Medicare Part D plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance plans (also called Medigap) in most all states, along with other insurance products. 

Provider Access

Around 1.2 million health care professionals are part of the Aetna network, including over 700,000 primary care doctors and specialists and more than 5,700 hospitals. Aetna’s provider reach is bolstered by its merger with CVS Health, which makes it easy for Aetna members to fill a prescription practically anywhere. 

The Cigna provider network is extensive and global. Cigna is also contracted with over 67,000 pharmacies in the U.S., which represents more than 99% of all pharmacies in the country.

Financial Strength Ratings

Both Aetna (which is a CVS Health company) and Cigna maintain strong financial rankings from the top credit rating agencies.1,2

CVS Health Credit Rating Agency Cigna

N/A

A.M. Best

A

N/A

Fitch

A

Baa2

Moody's

A2

BBB

Standard's and Poor's

A


Aetna maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, while Cigna has an A- rating. 

Medicare Star Ratings

Every year, Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rates each Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plan, as well as the insurance companies that offer them, using a 5-star quality scale.

In 2021, Aetna received a 4-star overall rating. Aetna Medicare Advantage plans were rated 4 stars overall, and Aetna Part D prescription drug plans were rated 3.5 stars overall.2

Cigna fared a bit better, with a 5-star overall rating for 2021. Cigna Medicare Advantage plans and Part D plans both also earned 5-star overall ratings.1 

Customer Experience

Today’s Medicare beneficiaries value ease of use and mobile support, and both Aetna and Cigna have heeded that call. 

Aetna and Cigna both feature online portals where members can log in to find a doctor, pay a premium, check on a claim, view their coverage and more. Both companies even offer mobile apps available for both Apple and Android users that are rated highly among users:

  • Aetna mobile apps


    • The Aetna Health app is rated 4.6 stars out of 5 on the Apple App Store, based on 96,000 ratings.
    • The Attain by Aetna app is rated 4.7 stars out of 5, based on 23,100 ratings.
  • Cigna mobile apps


    • The myCigna app is rated 4.8 stars out of 5, based on 124,600 reviews.
    • The Cigna Wellbeing app is rated 1.8 stars out of 5, based on 31 reviews.
    • The Cigna Envoy app is rated 1.9 stars out of 5, based on 223 ratings.

The Verdict

Both Aetna and Cigna are popular and well-known insurance companies. Each company offers a diverse lineup of insurance products that are accepted by a large number of health care providers and a contemporary customer experience.  

Aetna’s footprint is a little larger, with medical insurance and Medicare Advantage plans available in more states than Cigna. 

While both companies maintain strong financial ratings, Cigna’s Medicare plans fare a little better in terms of quality, based on the Medicare Star Ratings for 2021.   

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