UnitedHealthcare vs. Cigna Insurance: Which Is Better?

UnitedHealthcare beats out Cigna with wider availability across the United States. Find out how each company compares in coverage, customer satisfaction and more.

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UnitedHealthcare and Cigna are both formidable health insurance companies in the industry, each offering a wide range of plan types and network coverage. Both have large provider networks, though Cigna’s network is larger than UnitedHealthcare’s. However, UnitedHealthcare health insurance is offered in more states than Cigna which is why UnitedHealthcare takes the gold in this comparison.

Read our UnitedHealthcare vs. Cigna comparison to see which company is best for your health insurance needs.

Key Takeaways

  • UnitedHealthcare and Cigna both provide a diverse array of healthcare plan options.
  • Cigna has a larger network than UnitedHealthcare with 1.5 million providers.
  • Cigna has slightly better customer reviews than United Healthcare across several online entities.
  • However, UnitedHealthcare was rated better than Cigna across several regions in a 2022 J.D. Power study.

History of UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealth Group was founded in 1977 by Richard Burke and went public in 1984. It was Dr. Paul Ellwood, who coined the term “health maintenance organization,” and who helped Burke start-up UnitedHealth. In 1979, the company created the first network senior health plan.

Click to read our full UnitedHealthcare review.

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.

Click to read our full Cigna review.

UnitedHealthcare vs. Cigna: A Quick Glance




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


50 states (insurance types vary by location)

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

Coverage Limit






Maximum Annual Benefit



Waiting Period



Providers In-Network

1.3 million physicians and care professionals and 6500 hospitals and care facilities

1.5 million

Covers Telehealth

Yes (depending on need, your plan and location)

Yes (depending on plan and location)

Policy Management

Mobile app, online account, phone

Mobile app, online account, phone

UnitedHealthcare Pros and Cons



Robust health insurance plans and benefits for Medicare and Medicaid recipients

Smaller provider network than Cigna

Health insurance marketplace plans for individuals and families that do not qualify for Medicaid or Medicare


Offers telehealth for customers


Cigna Pros and Cons



Network of 1.5 million providers[1]

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 plans and group health insurance


UnitedHealthcare vs. Cigna: Plan Structures

UnitedHealthcare and Cigna both provide a diverse array of healthcare plan options. UnitedHealthcare and Cigna offer HMO, PPO and POS plans, as well as specialized options like CDHP, EPO and HDHP.

Additional offerings include FSA, HMO-POS, HSA, Indemnity, Medicaid and Medicare. Each company caters to both individual and family needs and offers group health insurance plans through employers, along with vision and dental insurance.




Individual & Family





Small Business




Supplemental (accidental, critical illness, hospitalization, indemnity and international travel)

UnitedHealthcare vs. Cigna: Plan Availability

UnitedHealthcare beats Cigna with nationwide availability. However, individual and family plans vary in availability depending on location. Cigna, on the other hand, only offers medical plans in the following 12 states:[2]











North Carolina


UnitedHealthcare vs. Cigna: In-Network Providers

Cigna wins this round, boasting an impressive network of 1.5 million providers. UnitedHealthcare’s network is still considerable with its 1.3 million providers, as well as 6,700 hospitals and care facilities.[3] You can locate a provider through Cigna by clicking here or through UnitedHealthcare by clicking here.

UnitedHealthcare vs. Cigna: Cost

There is no fair comparison between the two health insurance companies since health insurance costs are highly individualized and based on multiple factors including:

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

UnitedHealthcare and Cigna both offer Medicare Advantage, Medigap and Part D plans. Medicare Advantage, priced at $15 per month on average for 2022.[4] You'll also need to pay the separate premiums for Parts A and B.

Medigap, costing an average of $139 per month in 2023, fills in Original Medicare coverage gaps but doesn't include prescription drug benefits.[5] Part D focuses on prescription drug coverage and costs an average of $43 per month in 2022.[6]

UnitedHealthcare vs. Cigna: Policy Management

Members of UnitedHealthcare and Cigna can manage their insurance policies via mobile app, web-based interface or through direct communication with customer service agents. The digital platforms simplify health insurance plan management by enabling you to:

  • Assess various expenses
  • Evaluate medication costs
  • Locate medical professionals
  • Settle invoices
  • Monitor expenditures
  • Check the status of claims

UnitedHealthcare vs. Cigna: Coverage Limits

Health insurance companies like UnitedHealthcare and Cigna are prohibited from imposing monetary caps on what are deemed essential medical services when you're a policyholder. They must cover at least some of the cost of these benefits. These essential services encompass:

Outpatient care

Urgent medical attention

Surgical and inpatient hospital stays

Diagnostic lab tests

Mental and substance abuse treatments

Child healthcare services

Maternal, prenatal and infant care


Proactive health and chronic condition management

Rehabilitation and assistive technologies/devices

UnitedHealthcare vs. Cigna: Medical Loss Ratio

The Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) represents the percentage of premium income that a health insurance company allocates toward patient care and enhancing service quality. Regulations mandate that insurers must allocate a minimum of 80% of individual health insurance plan premiums or 85% of group plan premiums toward healthcare services.[7] If these thresholds are unmet, the remaining amount is returned to the insured parties as a rebate.

Cigna’s medical loss ratio in 2020 was 81.7%, just above the individual percentage mark.[8] UnitedHealthcare issued individual rebates in 2022 in Arizona, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey Tennessee and West Virginia as well as group rebates in the District of Columbia and 26 states, which include:[9]













New Jersey









New York





UnitedHealthcare vs. Cigna: Enrollment Process

The annual enrollment window kicks off on November 1st this year, offering the opportunity to select health insurance plans from UnitedHealthcare and Cigna via the health insurance exchange.[10] Employer-sponsored options for these health insurance companies might also be available. Enrollment outside of this designated period is permissible if you experience a life-changing event, such as:

  • Acquiring U.S. citizenship
  • Job transition
  • Marital status changes (marriage or divorce)
  • Childbirth or adoption
  • Income dropping below the federal poverty threshold
  • Loss of existing healthcare (due to a partner's job loss or death)
  • Relocating residences

UnitedHealthcare and Cigna provide Medicare Advantage plans, with their own enrollment period running from January 1st to March 31st annually.[11] They also offer Medigap and Part D options, which require you to have Original Medicare (Parts A and B) first. The signup window for Original Medicare spans from October 15 to December 7 each year.[11] Initial enrollment in Original Medicare is possible outside these dates if you're becoming a first-time user.

UnitedHealthcare vs. Cigna: Policyholder Experience

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




Consumer Affairs

2.5/5 stars[12]

1.9/5 stars[13]


3.1/5 stars[14]

2.7/5 stars[15]


No rating[16]

1.11/5 stars[17]

Public opinion varies for both firms, yet Cigna holds a slight edge over UnitedHealthcare. That said, a 2022 study by JD Power and Associates on Commercial Member Health Plans indicates that UnitedHealthcare outperforms Cigna in multiple regions.[18]

How To File Claims With UnitedHealthcare and Cigna

If you visit an in-network doctor or healthcare center, they'll handle the insurance claim filing process for you. For out-of-network services, you'll be responsible for submitting the claim form yourself. Both UnitedHealthcare and Cigna offer specific forms for this purpose, which must be sent to the designated address. Additionally, you can monitor the progress of your claim via the web interface or mobile application provided by your health insurance company.

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UnitedHealthCare and Cigna FAQs

Which insurance is better: UnitedHealthcare or Cigna?

Based on user reviews, Cigna seems to have a minor advantage over UnitedHealthcare. However, a 2022 research report from JD Power and Associates focusing on Commercial Health Plans suggests that UnitedHealthcare surpasses Cigna in several geographic areas.[18]

Is Cigna Healthcare any good?

The quality of care from Cigna Healthcare varies based on individual needs and regional performance, as indicated by a J.D. Power study. Notably, Cigna received the top ranking in New Jersey but performed below average in several other regions.

What is the difference between Aetna and Cigna?

Aetna and Cigna are different healthcare companies with different provider networks, availability and user ratings. 


  1. Cigna. “Cigna FlexAssure.” Accessed August 22, 2023.
  2. Cigna. “With Medical Plans in 12 States and Dental Plans in All 50 States Plus D.C., Reasons To Sell Cigna Are Really Adding Up,” Page 1. Accessed August 22, 2023.
  3. UnitedHealthcare. “About Us.” Accessed August 22, 2023.
  4. Kaiser Family Foundation. “Medicare Advantage in 2023: Premiums, Out-Of-Pocket Limits, Cost Sharing, Supplemental Benefits, Prior Authorization and Star Ratings.” Accessed August 22, 2023.
  5. MedicareSupplement.com. “What Is the Average Cost of Medicare Supplement Insurance?” Accessed August 22, 2023.
  6. Kaiser Family Foundation. “Medicare Part D: A First Look at Medicare Drug Plans in 2023.” Accessed August 22, 2023.
  7. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “Medical Loss Ratio.” Accessed August 22, 2023.
  8. Cigna. “Cigna Reports Strong Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2022 Results, Establishes 2023 Guidance and Increases Dividend.” Accessed August 22, 2023.
  9. UnitedHealthcare. “2022 Medical Loss Ratio Final Payout Report Group,” Pages 1-2. Accessed August 22, 2023.
  10. Healthcare.gov. “When Can You Get Health Insurance?” Accessed August 22, 2023.
  11. Medicare.gov. “Joining a Plan.” Accessed August 22, 2023.
  12. Consumer Affairs. “UnitedHealthcare.” Accessed August 22, 2023.
  13. Consumer Affairs. “Cigna Health Insurance.” Accessed August 22, 2023.
  14. BestCompany. “UnitedHealthcare.” Accessed August 22, 2023.
  15. BestCompany. “Cigna.” Accessed August 22, 2023.
  16. Better Business Bureau. “UnitedHealthcare a UnitedHealth Group Co.” Accessed August 22, 2023.
  17. Better Business Bureau. “Cigna.” Accessed August 22, 2023.
  18. J.D. Power. “Commercial Health Plan Member Satisfaction Declines in Key Areas, J.D. Power Finds.” Accessed August 22, 2023.

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