Aetna: Company Overview

Aetna is based in Hartford, CT and is one of the largest health insurance carriers with a vast network of providers.

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About 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. 

In 1861, Aetna began offering participating life insurance policies, which paid dividends to policyholders and higher commission rates for agents. In 1865, annual revenue exceeded $1 million in revenue and continued to increase business and expansion, even in Massachusetts and New York where requirements for life companies were very stringent. Aetna was also one of the first companies to switch from half-notes to all-cash premium plans. 

In 1891, Aetna issued its first accident policy. Aetna was the first stock insurance company in the health insurance business when in 1899 they began offering stock options to policyholders with a life or accident policy. In 1902, they began offering liability coverage and organized an Accident and Liability department in 1902 to serve employers and employees. In 1906, the San Francisco earthquakes wiped out the profits fire insurance companies made over the previous 47 years. Aetna Insurance paid out $3 million.

In 1907, Aetna began offering automobile insurance, including collision and other types of property damage. In 1912, it had the first combination auto policy. In 1913, a year after some Aetna insurance clients lost their lives on the Titanic, Aetna formed a department to sell group life insurance. They were one of the first insurers to write group policies for businesses. In 1917, they used their financial strength to bond contractors involved in government construction while also funding the country’s war efforts by buying and selling Liberty Bonds. In 1919, Aetna began offering group disability policies. 

In 1922 Morgan B. Brainard became president and CEO. He rewrote policies in simpler language. The company began to advertise on the radio and opened a rehabilitation clinic for disabled workers in Syracuse, NY. In 1924, Aetna began a long line of tradition in giving with participation in the first Greater Hartford Community Chest fundraising drive.

In 1931, Aetna bonded the construction of the Hoover Dam, in 1932 the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. During the Great Depression managed the crisis by withholding dividend payments to shareholders from late 1932 to 1934, reducing their workforce and cutting salaries by 10%. 

In 1940, Aetna bonded construction of seven U.S Navy aircraft carriers. In 1944, Aetna insured the Manhattan Project to produce the world’s first atomic bomb. In the same year, they became the first insurer to advertise on television. In 1947, they provided group coverage to the United Nations (UN) and two years later bonded the construction of the UN’s headquarters in New York. 

In 1951, Aetna introduced major medical coverage to attract and retain workers. In 1953, Aetna developed the “drivotrainer”, a car simulator that was designed to teach students how to drive. In the 1950s Aetna was very technology-forward and by 1954, they ordered their first IBM 650. In 1957 Henry S. Beers took over the role of CEO. He streamlined operations and made changes that changed offices and other workplaces forever. He also set up philanthropic foundations.

In 1960, Aetna became an international insurer by acquiring a Canadian Insurer, Excelsior Life Insurance Company. In 1963, America’s original 7 astronauts bought Aetna policies, making this the first individual life insurance policy for astronauts. 

In 1965, Aetna cosponsored a National Geographic television special, with Jacque Cousteau and Jane Goodall. In 1966, Aetna paid its first Medicare claim. In the same year, the company partners with Italy’s Assicurazioni Generali to insure people in more than 70 countries. In 1967, the company announced that it was changing its corporate structure to a holding company that would own all the stock in Aetna Life and its affiliates. In 1968, the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange and continued expansion in the international business scene by acquiring majority interest in Producer’s and Citizen’s Cooperative Assurance Company, an Australian entity.

In 1971 Aetna Life and Casualty Foundation was formed. In 1972, John H. Filer became CEO. In the same year, the company sponsored the Aetna World Cup, an international tennis challenge featuring professionals from Australia and the U.S. In 1973, Aetna created an HMO subsidiary. In 1975 Aetna’s realty development project, The Hartford Civic Center, opened, with Aetna owning the retail half of the facility. In 1977, Aetna launched an advertising campaign to increase the company’s name recognition.

In 1981, Aetna created the Commercial Insurance Division to cater to small and large businesses and it was renamed the Employee Benefits Division. In 1982, the company introduced the “Aetna, I’m Glad I Met Ya!” advertising campaign. In 1984, Aetna opened facilities worth $200 million. In 1985 Aetna and Voluntary Hospitals of America formed Partners National Health Plans, an alternative health care venture that HMOs, PPOs and other products. In 1986, Aetna bonded the restoration of the Statue of Liberty.  That same year, Aetna was chosen to administer claims for Agent Orange victims.

By 1987, Partners National Health Plans membership exceeded 1 million and Aetna sold the first employer group long-term care plan. In 1988, Aetna sponsored the PBS television series, The American Experience. Aetna also acquired Human Affairs International, a provider of employee assistance programs. 

In 1990, Aena stopped selling individual health policies. In 1992, Ronald E. Compton became CEO of Aetna, and the following year, Aetna opened an office in China. In 1996, Aetna sold its property-casualty operations to Travelers Insurance Group for $4 billion. They then merged with U.S Healthcare and became Aetna U.S. Healthcare. Aetna also combined its financial services business units into Aetna Retirement Services.

In 1997, Aetna bought a leading financial planning company, Financial Network Investment Company and gave $7 million to fund the American Heart Association’s National Women’s Heart Disease and Stroke campaign. Aetna was the first national health benefits company to support diabetes and mammogram screening guidelines. In 1998, Richard L. Huber became CEO of Aetna and acquired NYLCare Health Plans for over $1 billion, adding 2.2 million members to Aetna U.S Healthcare. In 1999, Aetna acquired Prudential HealthCare for $1 billion, bringing their total to 21 million members and making Aetna the country’s largest health benefits provider. 

In 2,000 William H. Donaldson became chairman, CEO and president and named John W. Rowe, MD, as president and CEO of Aetna U.S. Healthcare. Aetna sold its financial services and international businesses to ING for 7.7 billion. In 2001, Rowe took over Donaldson’s role as chairman, CEO and president. Ronald Williams became executive vice president and chief of Health Operations. Aetna launched the Aetna HealthFund in 2001. In 2002 Aetna set the industry standard by supporting legislation and guidelines for access to genetic testing, genetic counseling and more. 

In 2003, Aetna celebrated its 150th anniversary and became the first national health insurer to announce a health savings account (HSA). In 2004, the company adopted a new end-of-life care program called Aetna Compassionate Care. In 2005, Aetna and Aetna Foundation awarded $2.25 million in grants to address racial and ethnic disparities and end-of-life care and the following year they awarded the same amount to address end-of-life care and depression in 2006. Aetna also committed $50 million to support minority and women owned businesses. 

In 2007, Aetna acquired Schller Anderson, a health care management services provider for Medicaid plans. The company also acquired Goodhealth Worldwide, an underwriter for international private medical insurance.

From 2018-2010, Aetna was selected by Fortune Magazine as the most admired company in Health Care (Insurance and Managed Care category). In 2010 President Mark T. Bertolini was named CEO of Aetna and the following year was named chairman. Aetna acquired Medicity, a health information exchange technology company in 2011. The company also acquired Prodigy Health Group, the nation’s largest independent third-party administrator of self-funded health care plans.

In 2012, Aetna went from being an insurance carrier to a health company and was recognized as a community-minded company and ranked fourth in “the Civic 50” survey. In 2013, Aetna acquired Coventry Health Care, Inc. making the company the third largest health care benefits company in America. In 2014, Aetna acquired bswift, a technology platform offering retail shopping for health insurance nationwide. 

In 2015, Karen S. Lynch became president of Aetna and began improving wages and benefits to employees. In 2016, Chairman Mark T. Bertolini launched the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge, encouraging cities and counties to compete for the $1.5 million prize. In the same year, he began offering employees a new student loan repayment program. Karen S. Lynch made Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business list.

In 2017, Aetna sold its group life and disability businesses to The Hartford for $1.45 billion. Aetna also responded to hurricane season with donations exceeding $470,000 in Texas, Louisiana, and parts of the Caribbean. The company also matched donations from associates that totalled more than $230,000. Aetna is acquired by CVS Health Corporation at the end of 2017.

In 2018, The Aetna Foundation focused on the fight against the opioid epidemic in the U.S. with grants totalling $6 million. In collaboration with U.S News & World News, the Aetna Foundation reveals the Healthiest Communities from 3,000 communities nationwide, across 10 categories.

Aetna Facts & Ratings

Year Founded 1853
Market Share Percentage 4.53%
Financial Strength Excellent
BBB Rating A+
NAIC Complaint Index 6.27 for individual health insurance
NAIC Complaint Index 23.18 for group health insurance

Aetna Mobile App Rating

iOS 4.6 stars (out of 5) 181K users
Android 4.6 stars (out of 5) 38K users

The Aetna Health app allows you to find a doctor in your area and see estimates of what certain procedures may cost. You can also view your benefits, review account balances, and manage your claims. The App is available on ios and Android.

Pros & Cons of Aetna

  • Aetna is one of the largest insurance carriers and has a vast network of providers.
  • It’s not very easy to buy Aetna Insurance unless it’s offered by an employer.

Aetna Enrollment Process

Aetna is available through participating employers. You can also buy an individual or family plan directly from Aetna, the health insurance marketplace or you can get several free quotes here.

At this time, Aetna offers Medicare, Medicaid, student health insurance and international insurance. For individual and family plans, they offer plans through eHealth, which compares rates from several companies for Affordable Care Act plans, short-term plans and medical indemnity plans.

How to file a claim with Aetna

If you use a network doctor or hospital, your claims will be submitted by that provider. If you see an out-of-network provider, you need to submit the claim yourself. You must submit a completed claim form or alternative documentation via fax or mailing address. As an alternative to sending a claim form, supply a description of services, a bill of charges from the provider and any medical documents you received from your provider.

Common Questions about Aetna

What type of health plans does Aetna offer?

Aetna offers Aetna Medicare, Aetna Medicaid, student health insurance and international insurance. They offer Affordable Care Act plans, short-term plans and medical indemnity plans through e-Health, which compares insurance partners’ rates for you. Or, you can just visit here for free health insurance quotes.

What pharmacy accepts Aetna insurance?

Medicare Part D plans have a network of participating pharmacies you can find here. For all other types of plans, visit here to find a pharmacy.

Does Aetna insurance cover hearing aids?

Most Aetna plans exclude coverage for hearing aids. Any applicable benefit plan exclusions and limitations for coverage of hearing aids would apply to air conduction hearing aids, implantable hearing aids and semi-implantable hearing aids.

Is Aetna insurance Medicaid?

Aetna offers Medicaid plans, which vary according to individual state Medicaid programs and has a different name in each state.

Does Aetna insurance cover chiropractic?

Aetna only covers chiropractic services if they are deemed necessary. For instance, if the member has a neuromusculoskeletal disorder and the need for treatment is clearly documented and improvement is documented within the first two weeks of service.

What if I lost my Aetna insurance card?

Notify Aetna member services right away if you lost your Aetna Insurance card. Medical identity theft is on the rise.

Can you cancel Aetna insurance anytime?

Call Aetna at the number listed on your ID card. If you want to leave your current plan and join another, you will be given your options. You’ll also have to fill out a form if you are disenrolling in Medicare Advantage plans or Prescription Drug Plans. There are only certain times that you can disenroll. If there are 10 days or fewer left until the end of the month, fax form to 1-888-665-6296.

What lab does Aetna insurance use?

Aetna Insurance uses Quest Diagnostics laboratories.

How to get an Aetna Health insurance quote?

The best way to get health insurance quotes is by visiting here.

Where is the policy number on the Aetna insurance card?

The member ID number is the same as the policy number, which is at the bottom right hand side of the front of the Aetna insurance card.

Can you get braces with Aetna insurance?

Not all dental benefits and insurance plans include orthodontic coverage. To see if you’re covered, contact member services at the number on your ID card. If you are an Aetna DMO plan member you can get orthodontic treatment from an orthodontist in the network to be covered. You do not need a referral for orthodontic treatment.

What hospital takes Aetna insurance?

You can see which doctors, dentists and hospitals are accepted by visiting here.

What eye doctor takes Aetna insurance?

You can see which doctors, dentists and hospitals are accepted by visiting here.

Does Aetna Health insurance cover a wheelchair?

Wheelchair rental or purchase of a manual wheelchair is covered when the member is unable to ambulate about the home. For more about requirements for eligibility, visit here.

Are flu shots covered by Aetna insurance?

If you have preventive services coverage on your Aetna health insurance plan, your flu shot is covered.

Aetna Contact Info

Address 151 Farmington Ave., Hartford, CT 06156
Phone 1 (800)-872-3862


The information listed on this page is from our own in house research. It is accurate as of the article publish date. Visit the carrier website for additional information.


How Does Aetna Compare to Other health Insurance Companies?

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