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 health plan options.
  • Cigna has a larger network than UnitedHealthcare with 1.5 million providers.
  • UnitedHealthcare has slightly better customer reviews than Cigna across several online platforms.
  • A 2023 J.D. Power study found that UnitedHealthcare was the best-rated health insurance company in three regions, while Cigna was the best-rated insurer in only one region.

History of UnitedHealthcare

Richard Burke founded UnitedHealthCare’s parent company, UnitedHealth Group, in 1977 while he was still a health analyst at InterStudy. There, he worked alongside Dr. Paul Ellwood, who pioneered the health maintenance organization (HMO) as a way to lower health care costs by changing how medical providers were paid.[1]

Click to read our full UnitedHealthcare review.

History of Cigna

Cigna as it exists today was born in 1982 out of the merger of two longstanding health insurance providers: the Insurance Company of North America (INA), which was formed in 1792, and the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, which was formed in 1865.[2]

Cigna and its predecessors have played a prominent role in many aspects of American history. For example, INA paid out claims to help rebuild large parts of Chicago and San Francisco after they were impacted by natural disasters in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Today, Cigna’s reach extends beyond the United States to numerous countries around the world.[2]

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, Indiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia (dental coverage available in all states)

Coverage Limit






Maximum Annual Benefit



Waiting Period



Providers In-Network

1.3 million physicians and care professionals and over 6,700 hospitals and care facilities

1.5 million

Covers Telehealth



Policy Management

Mobile app, online account, phone

Mobile app, online account, phone

UnitedHealthcare Pros and Cons



Offers health coverage in every state

Slightly smaller provider network than Cigna

Slightly better online reviews than Cigna


Highest customer satisfaction rating in the Mountain region, Texas and Virginia


Cigna Pros and Cons



Network of 1.5 million providers

Limited availability of medical plans

Adhered to government-mandated medical loss ration standards in 2022 and 2023

Poor online reviews

Highest customer satisfaction rating in New Jersey


UnitedHealthcare vs. Cigna: Plan Structures

UnitedHealthcare and Cigna both provide a diverse array of health insurance plan options such as 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 and family





Small business




Supplemental (accident, critical illness, hospital indemnity and international travel)

UnitedHealthcare vs. Cigna: Plan Availability

UnitedHealthcare beats Cigna with nationwide availability in every state plus the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands.[3] However, individual and family plans vary in availability depending on location. Cigna, on the other hand, only offers medical plans in the following 14 states:[4] 

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia

Even if you live in one of these 14 states, Cigna health insurance is not necessarily available in your county. Nevertheless, Cigna does notably offer dental insurance in all 50 states.[4]

UnitedHealthcare vs. Cigna: In-Network Providers

Cigna wins this round, boasting an impressive network of 1.5 million providers.[5] UnitedHealthcare’s network is still considerable with its 1.3 million providers, as well as 6,700 hospitals and care facilities.[6] 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
  • Plan tier

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.[7] These essential services encompass:[8]

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

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 health care services. If these thresholds are unmet, the remaining amount is returned to the insured parties as a rebate.[9]

Cigna has not announced any rebates for 2024 and instead reported a full-year MLR above 80% for both 2022 and 2023.[10] Meanwhile, UnitedHealthcare issued individual rebates in 2023 in Alabama, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi and North Carolina, as well as group rebates in the following 25 states:[11]

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

UnitedHealthcare vs. Cigna: Enrollment Process

The annual enrollment window kicks off on November 1 each year, offering the opportunity to select health insurance plans from UnitedHealthcare and Cigna via the health insurance exchange.[12] 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 health coverage (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 1 to March 31 annually.[13] They also offer Medigap and Part D options, which require you to have Original Medicare (Parts A and B) first.

The sign-up window for Original Medicare spans from October 15 to December 7 each year.[13] Initial enrollment in Original Medicare is possible outside these dates if you’re becoming a first-time member.

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.





1.5/5 stars[14]

1.4/5 stars[15]

Best Company

2.3/5 stars[16]

1.9/5 stars[17]


No rating[18]

1.06/5 stars[19]

Public opinion is not outstanding for either carrier, although UnitedHealthcare does hold a slight edge over Cigna. In addition, a 2023 study by J.D. Power on commercial member health plans indicates that UnitedHealthcare outperforms Cigna in multiple regions.[20]

How To File Claims With UnitedHealthcare and Cigna

If you visit an in-network doctor or health care 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, UnitedHealthcare seems to have a minor advantage over Cigna. In addition, a 2023 research report from J.D. Power focusing on commercial health plans suggests that UnitedHealthcare surpasses Cigna in several geographic areas.[20]

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.[20]

What is the difference between Aetna and Cigna?

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


  1. StarTribune. “UnitedHealth Group Founder To Retire From Board After More Than 40 Years.” Accessed April 4, 2024.
  2. The Cigna Group. “Milestones.” Accessed April 4, 2024.
  3. UHCprovider.com. “Health Plans by State.” Accessed April 4, 2024.
  4. Cigna. “Cigna Healthcare’s 2024 Footprint for Individual and Family Plans,” Pages 1-2. Accessed April 4, 2024.
  5. Cigna Global Expat Health Insurance. “CIGNA FlexAssure.” Accessed Aug. 22, 2023.
  6. UnitedHealthcare. “About Us.” Accessed Aug. 22, 2023.
  7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Lifetime & Annual Limits.” Accessed April 4, 2024.
  8. HealthCare.gov. “Find Out What Marketplace Health Insurance Plans Cover.” Accessed April 4, 2024.
  9. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. “Medical Loss Ratio.” Accessed April 4, 2024.
  10. The Cigna Group. “The Cigna Group Reports Strong Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2023 Results, Raises 2024 Adjusted EPS Outlook, and Increases Dividend,” Page 5. Accessed April 4, 2024.
  11. UnitedHealthcare. “2023 Medical Loss Ratio Final Payout Report — Group,” Pages 1-2. Accessed April 4, 2024.
  12. Healthcare.gov. “When Can You Get Health Insurance?” Accessed Aug. 22, 2023.
  13. Medicare.gov. “Joining a Plan.” Accessed Aug. 22, 2023.
  14. ConsumerAffairs. “Top 2,066 Reviews From Legit United Health Care Buyers.” Accessed April 4, 2024.
  15. ConsumerAffairs. “Top 1,177 Reviews From Legit Cigna Health Insurance Buyers.” Accessed April 4, 2024.
  16. Best Company. “559+ UnitedHealthcare Reviews.” Accessed April 4, 2024.
  17. BestCompany. “341+ Cigna Reviews.” Accessed April 4, 2024.
  18. Better Business Bureau. “UnitedHealthcare A UnitedHealth Group Co | Business Details.” Accessed April 4, 2024.
  19. Better Business Bureau. “Cigna.” Accessed April 4, 2024.
  20. J.D. Power. “Commercial Health Plan Member Satisfaction Declines in Key Areas, J.D. Power Finds.” Accessed Aug. 22, 2023.

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