Aetna vs. Humana

In this article...
  • Aetna and UnitedHealthcare are both major providers of Medicare Advantage insurance plans. Our review outlines how these companies compare across a variety of metrics, such as Medicare plan quality, availability, costs and more.

Aetna and Humana are two of the nation’s leading providers of Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plans, Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance plans (also called Medigap). 

In this review, we explore Aetna vs. Humana Medicare plans to help guide you in your search for the best Medicare coverage for your needs. Learn more about Medicare plans from each company, including what they cost, what they cover and how you can compare the plans that are available where you live.

Humana: Wider Availability of Medicare Advantage Plan Types

Aetna and Humana each sell HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) and PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) Medicare plans, which are the two most common types of Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare Advantage plans include Medicare Part A and Part B health benefits along with additional coverage for things like dental, vision, prescription drugs and more.

Aetna and Humana both also offer Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (SNP), which include benefits that are tailored to the specific needs of someone with a particular health condition or financial situation. However, only Humana has Special Needs Plans for people with chronic health conditions. (Aetna Special Needs Plans are limited to those with dual eligibility, meaning they are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.)

Both companies sell Medicare Advantage plans nationwide. But Humana has the largest Medicare Advantage footprint of any other insurance company, with plans available in 84% of all counties in the U.S.

18% of all Medicare Advantage beneficiaries were members of a Humana Medicare plan in 2020. Aetna plan members accounted for 11% of all Medicare Advantage enrollees in the same year. 

Aetna: Lower Medicare Advantage Plan Costs

Comparing costs of Medicare Advantage plans is not always an apples-to-apples comparison because of the various benefits that may be included in one plan but not the other. Plan costs can also vary based on your ZIP code and the type of plan you enroll in.

To help compare some typical Medicare Advantage plan costs between Humana vs. Aetna, we collected quotes for the lowest-priced HMO and PPO plans that included prescription drug coverage for each respective carrier in three different cities, just to provide you with an idea of some cost comparisons. 

Please note that the plans available where you live may vary, and while Aetna offers the lowest monthly premiums in the comparison below, they may not offer plans with the lowest premiums where you live.

Location Plan Type Aetna: Monthly Premium/Deductible Humana: Monthly Premium/Deductible
Raleigh, NC HMO $0 / $0 $0 / $0
  PPO $0 / $0 $50 / $500
Phoenix, AZ HMO $0 / $0 $0 / $0
  PPO $0 / $0 $16 / $0
Atlanta, GA HMO $0 / $0 $0 / $0
  PPO $0 / $0 $0 / $0

Aetna vs. Humana: Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans

Medicare Part D plans provide coverage for prescription medications. Both Aetna and Humana sell Part D plans nationwide, and both companies have a lineup of three distinct plans to allow shoppers the choice of low, medium and high premiums and deductibles. 

Both companies partner with major pharmacy chains like Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and more. 

To compare Aetna vs. Humana Part D plan costs, we gathered quotes for each of the company’s three plans for three different cities. The chart below shows how they compare.

Please keep in mind that the plans that are available near you and their costs may vary and may not match exactly what you see below. Also note that Aetna offers Part D plans in partnership with SilverScript.

Location Aetna Plan Name Monthly Premium Annual Deductible Humana Plan Name Monthly Premium Annual Deductible
Los Angeles, CA SilverScript SmartRx $7.20 $445  Walmart Value Rx $17.20 $0 for tier 1-2 drugs; $445 for tiers 3-5 
  SilverScript Choice  $29.50  $250 Humana Basic Rx $30.30  $445 
  SilverScript Plus $81.60  $0 Humana Premier Rx $72.50  $0 for tier 1-2 drugs; $445 for tiers 3-5  
New York, NY SilverScript SmartRx $7.30 $445 Walmart Value Rx $17.20 $0 for tier 1-2 drugs; $445 for tiers 3-5  
  SilverScript Choice $35.00  $290 Humana Basic Rx  $27.10 $445
  SilverScript Plus $76.60 $0  Humana Premier Rx  $72.30 $0 for tier 1-2 drugs; $445 for tiers 3-5  
Chicago, IL SilverScript SmartRx  $7.30 $445  Walmart Value Rx $17.20  $0 for tier 1-2 drugs; $445 for tiers 3-5  
  SilverScript Choice  $24.70  $340 Humana Basic Rx  $27.00 $445
  SilverScript Plus  $82.40   $0 Humana Premier Rx   $61.40 $0 for tier 1-2 drugs; $445 for tiers 3-5  

Aetna vs. Humana: Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans

Medicare Supplement Insurance, or Medigap, helps cover deductibles, copayments, coinsurance and other out-of-pocket expenses faced by Original Medicare beneficiaries. There are 10 standardized Medigap plans available in most states, seven of which are sold by Aetna and eight by Humana.

The chart below shows which plans are available through each carrier. Again, please note that each of the following types of Medigap plans may or may not be available from either career in the ZIP code where you live. It’s helpful to get an online quote for Medigap plans or to call and speak with a licensed insurance agent who can help you compare plans. 

Medigap Plan Offered by Aetna Offered by Humana
Plan A
Plan B
Plan C*
Plan D  
Plan F*
Plan G
Plan K  
Plan L  
Plan M    
Plan N

*Plan F and Plan C are not available to new Medicare beneficiaries who first became eligible for Medicare after January 1, 2020. If you became eligible for Medicare before that date, you may be allowed to apply for either plan if they're available where you live. If you already have Plan F or Plan C, you may keep your plan.

You can see the list of benefits covered by each plan and learn more about how they can help you save money by reviewing the Medicare Supplement plans comparison chart.

Aetna vs. Humana: Ratings

Every year, Medicare evaluates plans on a 5-star rating system.

  • Aetna received an overall four-star rating out of a possible five stars for its Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans for 2021.1

  • Humana also earned competitive Medicare Star Ratings, with 92% of the company’s Medicare Advantage members enrolled in a plan rated four stars or higher in 2021.2

Aetna vs. Humana Summary

Humana holds a larger share of the Medicare Advantage market in terms of both enrollment rates and plan availability, while also offering a more diverse selection of special needs plans. Humana also offers one more type of Medigap plan than Aetna does.

Both companies offer similar Medicare Part D options, although Aetna’s pricing is a bit more affordable. 

Be sure to get free plan quotes for the Medicare plans available where you live so that you can compare what each plan covers, what it costs and other factors that may affect whether or not it's the best plan for you.

  1. Aetna. CMS's Medicare Star Ratings.

  2. Humana. (Oct. 8, 2020). 92% of Humana’s Medicare Advantage Members are in 4-Star and Above Contracts for 2021, Reflecting Ongoing Commitment to Quality Care and Improved Health Outcomes.

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