Cigna vs. Aetna Insurance

Which health insurance company is the best option for you and your family? Compare Cigna and Aetna side by side.

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We have found that there is no clear winner when it comes to Cigna and Aetna. Both offer a large network of providers and plan types for their customers. While Aetna has a higher complaint index, Cigna has less availability in the country. Cigna also received a below average rating in most regions by JD Power and Associates. Aetna, however, doesn’t offer individual and family plans in every state. Below is a breakdown of both companies so you can see which one works best for you.

Cigna Vs Aetna: A Quick Glance

We've made it easy to compare companies side by side. See how Cigna and Aetna ranked among the industry ratings, their plan types, availability, and more.

Comparison

Cigna

Aetna

Year Founded

1792

1853

Medicare Star Rating

3.5 stars (out of 5)

4.29 stars (out of 5)

NAIC Complaint Index

1.0% for individual health insurance

2.6% for individual health insurance

Market Share Percentage

2.49%

3.5%

Plan Types

CDHP, EPO, FSA, HDHP, HMO, HMO-POS, HSA, Indemnity, Medicaid, Medicare, POS, and PPO

CDHP, EPO, FSA, HDHP, HMO, HMO-POS, HSA, Indemnity, Medicaid, Medicare, POS, and PPO

Availability

Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia

50 states and the District of Columbia (individual and family plan availability varies by location)

Coverage Limit

Varies

Varies

Deductible

Varies

Varies

Maximum Annual Benefit

Varies

Varies

Waiting Period

Varies

Varies

Providers In-Network

1.5 million

1.2 million

Covers Telehealth

Yes (depending on plan and location)

Yes (not available in all states)

Policy Management

Mobile app, online account, phone

Mobile app, online account, phone

Cigna Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Network of 1.5 million providers

Limited availability

Ranks as one of the largest and oldest insurance institutions in the country

Below average customer satisfaction rating in most regions in 2022 J.D. Power study

Offers individual health insurance and group health insurance

 

Click to read our full Cigna review.

Aetna Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Network of 1.2 million providers

Individual and family plans aren’t available in all areas

High Medicare rating

Below average customer satisfaction rating in several regions in 2022 J.D. Power study

Has coverage in all 50 states and Washington D.C.

Medicare Advantage Plans unavailable in some states

Click to read our full Aetna review.

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Cigna Vs Aetna: Plan Structures

Cigna and Aetna have similar health plan structures. CDHP, EPO, FSA, HDHP, HMO, HMO-POS, HSA, Indemnity, Medicaid, Medicare, POS, and PPO are offered by both companies. Cigna and Aetna also offer vision and dental insurance. Individual/family plans and group plans through employers are also offered by each health insurance provider.

Plan

Cigna

Aetna

Individual & Family

Medicare

Medicaid

Dental

Vision

Small Business

Cigna Vs Aetna: Plan Availability

Cigna is offered nationwide, including in the District of Columbia, but individual and family plan availability varies by location. Aetna is offered in only 13 states, which include:

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Virginia

Cigna Vs Aetna: In-Network Providers

Cigna has a large network of 1.5 million providers. Aetna also has an impressive network of 1.2 million providers. You can locate a provider through Cigna by clicking here or through Aetna by clicking here.

Cigna Vs Aetna: Cost

Healthcare costs vary due to several factors. They include:

  • Age
  • Deductible
  • Health history
  • Health plan
  • Insurance company
  • State

Both Cigna and Aetna offer Medicare Advantage (Part C), Medicare Supplement (Medigap), and Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage). Medicare Advantage combines Medicare Part A (hospital insurance), Part B (medical insurance), and usually Part D. The 2022 monthly premium for Medicare Advantage is $19. You will need to pay any premiums associated with Parts A and B in addition to the Medicare Advantage premium in order to have Medicare Advantage.

Medicare Supplement helps cover "gaps" in your Original Medicare plan. It will not cover prescription drugs. The average cost for Medigap in 2020 was $150 a month. Like Medicare Advantage, you will need to pay any premium costs associated with Parts A and B as well as the Medigap premium in order to have Medicare Supplement.

Part D offers prescription drug coverage. The average 2022 premium is $33 per month which must be paid in addition to the Part A premium and Part B premium. Part D deductibles will vary by plan.

Cigna Vs Aetna: Policy Management

Cigna and Aetna members can access their health insurance plans through a mobile app, online portal, or by speaking with a representative. Both the online portal and mobile app make managing your plan easy by allowing you to:

  • Compare costs
  • Compare prescription drug prices
  • Find healthcare providers
  • Pay bills
  • Track spending
  • View claim status

Cigna Vs Aetna: Coverage Limits

Health insurance companies, including Cigna and Aetna, are not allowed to set a dollar limit on what’s considered essential health benefits while you’re enrolled in a health insurance plan. Essential health benefits include:

  • Ambulatory patient services
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization (surgery and overnight stays)
  • Laboratory services
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services
  • Pediatric services
  • Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care
  • Prescription drugs
  • Preventive and wellness services/chronic disease management
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices

Cigna Vs Aetna: Medical Loss Ratio

The medical loss ratio (MLR) is the amount of premium revenue an insurance company brings in that is used for clinical services and quality improvement. Insurance companies are required to spend at least 80% for individuals or 85% for groups of premium dollars on medical care improvements. If the MLR doesn’t hit 80% or 85%, the difference is refunded to policyholders in the form of a rebate for policyholders. Cigna’s medical loss ratio in 2020 was 85.4%, just above the group percentage mark. Aetna issued rebates in 2020 in Washington D.C. and 13 other states, which include:

  • California
  • Georgia
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • Texas
  • Virginia

Below are figures pulled from the Kaiser Family Foundation showing the amount of rebates issued industry-wide from 2012 to 2022 as well as the average MLR by market between 2011 and 2021.

medical loss ration rebates issued in 2012-2022 in bar graphs

average medical loss rations by market 2011-2011 in line graph

Cigna Vs Aetna: Enrollment Process

Open enrollment will begin November 1st of this year. You can shop coverage for Cigna and Aetna through the health insurance marketplace. You may also be able to get Cigna or Aetna through your employer. You can get coverage outside of the enrollment period if there has been a qualifying event, such as:

  • Becoming a U.S. citizen
  • Changing jobs
  • Getting married or divorced
  • Giving birth to a child or adopting a child
  • Household income falling below the federal poverty level
  • Losing health coverage (spouse or domestic partner loses their job or dies)
  • Moving homes

Cigna Vs Aetna: Policyholder Experience

Below is a table showing ratings based on customer reviews and company reviews from several online sources for both Cigna and Aetna.

Company

Cigna

Aetna

Consumer Affairs

3.8/5 stars

3.2/5 stars

Trusted Choice

2.5/5 stars

4/5 stars

BestCompany

2.7/5 stars

3/5 stars

Affordable Health Insurance

4.2/5 stars

4.8/5 stars

BBB

1.24/5 stars

1.06/5 stars

The reviews for both companies are mixed. While some are very supportive of their carrier, others complained about issues involving covered services, misleading prices and poor claim handling. A 2022 JD Power and Associates Commercial Member Health Plan study also showed Cigna performing under average in most of the regions sampled. Aetna performed below average in many regions as well.

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How To File Claims With Cigna and Aetna

Doctors and medical facilities will file claims with your insurance company if the doctor or medical facility are in-network. You will need to file a claim yourself if you see an out-of-network provider. Both Cigna and Aetna have claim forms that need to be filled out and submitted to the appropriate address in this situation. Aetna has a universal claim form you can use while Cigna has various forms that match the specific claim type.

Both Cigna and Aetna allow you to review the current status of your claim through the online portal and mobile app.

History of Cigna

In 1792, a group of citizens formed the Insurance Company of North America (INA), the country’s oldest stockholder-owned insurer. In 1794, INA issued its first insurance policy, for a sea captain, to mitigate the risk of death. In 1865, the Governor of Connecticut signed a special act of the General Assembly incorporating the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, which helped make Hartford, CT, “the insurance capital of the world.” The Insurance Company of North America and the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company combined in 1982 to form Cigna as we know it today.

History of Aetna

In 1850, Aetna Insurance Company created a fund to sell life insurance. In 1953 the life and health divisions of Aetna separated. The company’s first president was Eliphalet A. Bulkeley. The name “Aetna” was taken from an 11,000-foot volcano in Sicily, Italy, which was also the most active volcano in Europe.

FAQs

Does Cigna offer a life insurance plan?

Yes, Cigna offers term life insurance, group life insurance and final expense whole life insurance. You can buy a plan for individuals or through employers where available.

Does Aetna insurance cover hearing aids?

Most Aetna Medicare Advantage plans cover hearing aids.

Choose the Company That's Right For You

Choosing Cigna or Aetna comes down to your preferences and needs, making it hard to say which is superior to the other. Both have large networks of providers as well as similar plan types for their customers. Cigna is only available in 13 states. Aetna has a higher NAIC complaint index. They both ranked low in a 2022 JD Power and Associates study as well. To help find the best health insurance plan, use SmartFinancial to make sure you’re getting the plan you want for the price you want. Enter your zip code below or call 855.214.2291 to receive your free health insurance quotes.

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