Cigna vs. UnitedHealthcare
- Cigna and UnitedHealthcare both offer Medicare plans across many areas nationwide. In this review, we compare Cigna vs. UHC Medicare plans so that you can get a better idea of what plans each insurance company offers and whether they might be the best Medicare plans for you.
There are numerous health insurance companies that sell private Medicare plans, and among the more well-known carriers are Cigna and UnitedHealthcare.
Both companies sell Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plans, Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance plans (also called Medigap).
In this review, we compare Cigna vs. UnitedHealthcare Medicare plans to aid in your shopping search.
Cigna: Higher Medicare Star Ratings
Every year, Medicare evaluates plans using a 5-star rating system. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rates all Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans – and the insurance companies that provide them – across a number of quality metrics such as customer satisfaction and patient outcomes.
For 2021, UnitedHealthcare earned an overall rating of 3.5 stars from Medicare. Three stars is considered average, and four stars is above average.1
Cigna, meanwhile, earned a perfect 5-star rating for both its Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans.2
Medicare Advantage is otherwise known as Medicare Part C. These plans include all of the same benefits as Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) while also adding some coverage for things not found in Original Medicare. The extra benefits often include dental, vision, hearing, prescription drug coverage and more.
Cigna and UnitedHealthcare (UHC) each sell the most common types of Medicare Advantage plans, which include Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans, Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, Point-of-Service (POS) plans and Special Needs Plans (SNPs).
UnitedHealthcare: Wider Range of Medicare Plan Availability
While Cigna and UHC offer similar types of Medicare health plans, there is quite a difference in the geographic range in which those plans are sold.
UnitedHealthcare sells its Medicare Advantage plans in every state except Alaska.
Cigna only offers Medicare Advantage plans in the following 18 states and the District of Columbia in 2021:
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Cigna vs. UnitedHealthcare: Medicare Part D
Original Medicare does not typically cover prescription medications, which is where Medicare Part D comes in.
Both Cigna and UnitedHealthcare sell several different Medicare Part D plans nationwide, and each plan caters to a distinct budget. Each company offers an entry-level plan with a low monthly premium and higher annual deductible, a top-shelf plan with a higher premium but low deductible and a mid-range plan with mid-range costs.
Both companies utilize many of the major chain pharmacies like Walgreens, Walmart and CVS, while also including some smaller local pharmacies as part of their respective networks. Members of either carrier shouldn’t have difficulty locating a participating pharmacy near them where they can use their UnitedHealthcare or Cigna Medicare Part D plan (or Medicare Advantage plan that includes drug coverage).
Both Cigna and UnitedHealthcare also offer home delivery of prescription drugs.
Cigna vs. UnitedHealthcare: Medicare Supplement Insurance
Medicare Part A and Part B require a number of out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. Medicare Supplement Insurance, or Medigap, helps pay for some of these expenses.
There are 10 standardized Medigap plans available in most states, although plan selection will vary by carrier and location.
- UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement plans are available nationwide
- Cigna Medicare Supplement plans are found in 49 states and the District of Columbia
UnitedHealthcare has a few more Medigap plan options than Cigna though, with eight available plans in many areas, compared to four plans for Cigna. The number of Medigap plans and the specific types of plans that are available from either carrier may vary where you live.
The chart below shows which plans are available in many areas of the country.
|Medigap Plan||Offered by Cigna||Offered by UnitedHealthcare|
*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.
Cigna vs. UnitedHealthcare: Provider Networks and Popularity
Both Cigna and UnitedHealthcare have large networks of health care providers. Cigna claims more than 1.5 million participating providers around the world as part of its network, while UnitedHealthcare reports having 1.3 million providers in its network.
No matter which carrier you go with, you can likely find doctor near you who will accept your plan.
UnitedHealthcare is the largest provider of private Medicare insurance. In fact, 26% of all Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are enrolled in a UnitedHealthcare Medicare plan.
Cigna’s Medicare market share is smaller, as just 2% of all Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are members of a Cigna Medicare plan.
Cigna vs. UnitedHealthcare: Summary
UnitedHealthcare is a bigger provider of Medicare insurance than Cigna, so comparing the two carriers isn’t always a fair fight. The companies stack up well against each other in terms of Medicare Part D plans, but UnitedHealthcare offers more Medigap plans and sells Medicare Advantage plans in more states than Cigna.
Cigna does have a leg up in terms of quality though, with its perfect 5-star rating for 2021. And Cigna claims a larger network of participating providers than UnitedHealthcare.
If you value quality and don’t mind paying a little bit more to get it, Cigna might be the Medicare carrier for you. If affordability and selection top your list, UnitedHealthcare may be the way to go.
Either way, you should be sure to gather plan quotes from a number of different insurance companies so that you can be sure you're getting the best Medicare plan for your needs.