Wellcare vs. Aetna

In this article...
  • Wellcare and Aetna each offer Medicare plans in many parts of the country. In this review, we compare Wellcare vs. Aetna to help you decide which insurance company may be right for you.

Aetna and WellCare are a pair of popular insurance companies. And with many shared markets, it’s common for people to want to compare these carriers as part of their shopping process.

Aetna and WellCare are also two companies of very different sizes, so it’s important to keep that in mind when drawing any comparisons between the two.

Wellcare ranks 155th on the Fortune 500 list, with 12,00 employees, $20 billion in revenue and 5.5 million customers served.

Aetna ranks 49th on the Fortune 500 list, with nearly 48,000 employees and $60.6 billion in revenue, serving around 39 million customers.

Wellcare vs. Aetna
  Pros Cons
Wellcare

Large coverage footprint for a smaller company.

Recent merger with Centene points to a bright future.

Limited selection of plan types.

Plan quality could be better.

Mobile app is not very popular.

Aetna

Wide variety of insurance products offered.

Nationwide plan availability.

Large network of providers.

Quality of Medicare plans has room for improvement.

Wellcare vs. Aetna: Types of Insurance Plans Offered

Aetna offers several types of private Medicare insurance in many parts of the country, including Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plans, Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans.

Wellcare sells Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans in many parts of the country. However, the company does not sell Medigap.

One big difference between Aetna and Wellcare is that Wellcare only sells Medicare insurance, while Aetna also sells other types of insurance, such as group insurance and standalone vision and dental plans.

Areas Served

Aetna sells Medicare Advantage plans in all states and sells Medicare Part D and Medigap plans in most states.

Wellcare sells Medicare Advantage plans in 28 states (AL, AZ, AR, CA, CT, FL, GA, HI, IL, IN, KY, LA, ME, MI, MS, MO, NE, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, RI, SC, TN, TX, VT and WA) and Medicare Part D plans in all 50 states.

Provider Access

The Aetna network of participating providers includes close to 1.2 million health care professionals. That includes more than 700,000 primary care doctors and specialists and more than 5,700 hospitals. And Aetna’s merger with CVS Health allows Aetna drug coverage to be used at the nearly 10,000 CVS pharmacies located nationwide.

Wellcare does not disclose how many health care professionals accept its plans, but Doctor.com reports 17,622 doctors who accept Wellcare plans. (Doctor.com reports 886,713 providers accept Aetna.) 

Financial Ratings

Aetna maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, along with strong financial ratings from leading credit agencies such as Moody’s (Baa2) and Standard and Poor’s (BBB).

Wellcare also has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. The company’s 2020 merger with Centene has provided a boost to its portfolio, with a BBB- rating from Fitch Ratings and a BB rating from Standard and Poor’s. 

Medicare Star Ratings

Every year, Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rates the quality of all Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans across a variety of metrics using the 5-star scale.

Aetna received a 4-star overall rating in 2021, which included a 4-star rating for its Medicare Advantage plans and 3.5 stars for its Medicare Part D plans.

Wellcare received 3.4 stars overall, including 3.7 stars for its Medicare Part D plans and 3.2 stars for its Medicare Advantage plans.

Customer Experience

Aetna customers can log into an online portal from any location to find a doctor, pay their bill, view claims, check their coverage and more. And to bring patients one step closer to their benefits, Aetna has released a mobile app that offers a variety of the same and similar services. The Aetna Health app is rated 4.6 stars out of 5 in the Apple App Store and 3.9 stars in the Google Play store in 2021.

Aetna also has a variety of other apps available to members, including apps focused on health and exercise, vision benefits, Medicaid membership and more.

Wellcare also has a dedicated online portal for members who need assistance, and they also offer a pair of mobile apps. The My Wellcare app allows members to manage appointments, find providers and more, but it’s rated just 3.3 stars out of 5 in the Google Play store and only 1.6 stars in Apple’s App Store. My StayWell, a health- and lifestyle-focused app, is rated just 1.5 stars in the Google Play Store and 1.4 stars in the Apple App Store. 

Aetna vs. Wellcare: The Verdict

Aetna is a large company with a wide range of insurance products and a longstanding history of success.

Wellcare is a smaller company with a more focused selection of products that cater to more specific needs.

While Aetna generally outperforms Wellcare, determining which company is better ultimately comes down to which one is best for you and your own needs. A licensed insurance agent can help you go over the details of each carrier’s offering and arrive at the right choice for you. 

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