Aetna health insurance review and ratings 2023

Aetna, which ranked well for affordability and trustworthiness, is No. 3 on Insure.com’s 2023 Best Health Insurance Companies list – earning 3.8 stars out of 5.

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Our take

Aetna is worth considering if you’re looking for an insurance provider with a big coverage area and good prices. The company ranked the highest for affordability. It wasn’t singled out for being top of class in other categories, but it scored well in such key areas as trustworthiness.

The company received a strong 3.5 out of 5 stars from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. NCQA evaluates healthcare plans on, among other things, member satisfaction.

Overall, Aetna ranked No. 3 in Insure.com’s ranking of the Best Health Insurance Companies of 2023.

Below is Insure.com’s review of the company. It’s based on third-party metrics and an in-depth survey of insurance customers. Find the full methodology here, including an explanation of our survey scores.

Aetna
Aetna Ratings
Overall Rating: 3.8
Price/Affordability: 5.0
NCQA: 3.45
Customer Satisfaction: 4.4
AM Best Rating: A

Pros and Cons

Pros:
  • Rated highly for affordability
  • Among the most trusted health insurers
  • It’s expanding its digital offerings
Cons:
  • Customers didn’t rate its policy offerings as highly as other companies
  • Its provider network was also not rated as strongly as others

How much does Aetna insurance cost?

Aetna was rated highly for affordability in Insure.com’s survey of insurance consumers. And the company offers competitive market prices.

Insurance company Rank for price/affordability among Insure.com’s top 10
Aetna 1
UnitedHealthcare 2 (tie)
Cigna 2 (tie)

Aetna offers competitive rates, but so do other insurers. Below is a look at how Aetna’s rates in Florida compare with those of Florida Blue for a similar plan. These are 2023 healthcare exchange rates for a single, 40-year-old male in excellent health with an annual income of $70,000.

Insurance company Rate / Month Plan
Aetna $359 Bronze S – HMO
Florida Blue $358 myBlue Bronze 2311S – HMO

How Aetna scores for customer satisfaction

Our survey found that 87% of Aetna’s customers think it does a good job at delivering customer satisfaction. That’s pretty good, and it beat some insurers, such as Anthem. It and Anthem had the same average J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Commercial Member Health Plan Study score, but Kaiser did better in that ranking.

Insurance company Percent of customers who are satisfied with the company overall J.D. Power overall satisfaction score (out of 1,000)
Aetna 87% 726
Kaiser Permanente 93% 766
Anthem 81% 726

How Aetna scores for complaints filed against the company

Aetna does fairly well in terms of being able to settle complaints. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) compares major providers on how many complaints are filed with state regulators. If a provider has a rate that is equal to its customer base, it receives a 1.0 score. If it has twice as many complaints as its share of business, it gets a 2.0. Aetna had a score of 1.36, meaning it had just slightly more complaints filed compared to its market share.

Insurance company NAIC Complaint Index
Aetna 1.36

How Aetna scores for policy offerings

Aetna does have a larger portfolio of policy offerings. With 78% of customers saying they were satisfied, putting it in the middle of the pack in this category.

Insurance company Percent of customers who score their insurance company highly for policy offerings
Aetna 78%
Kaiser Permanente 91%
Anthem 76%

Would customers recommend Aetna to others?

Yes, with 85% of customers saying they would recommend the company to others. However, a few companies ranked higher. Kaiser led this category.

Insurance company Percent of customers who would recommend their health insurance company to others
Aetna 85%
Kaiser Permanente 96%
UnitedHealthcare 90%

How trustworthy is Aetna?

Most customers believe Aetna can be trusted. It received a 75% approval rating in this category, which was in the top half of our survey. Kaiser Permanente led the ratings at 87%.

Insurance company Percent of customers who say they trust their health insurance company
Aetna 75%
Kaiser Permanente 87%
UnitedHealthcare 74%

Do current Aetna customers plan to renew?

Most do. When customers were asked if they planned to renew with Aetna, 90% said they would. But a few companies ranked higher in this category, which was led by Anthem.

Insurance company Percent of customers who plan to renew with their health insurance company
Aetna 90%
Anthem 95%
Kaiser Permanente 93%

How Aetna scores for digital experience

Customers rated Aetna’s website and digital experience in the top half of insurers in our survey – but it should be noted, none of the companies we ranked did especially well here. Now that it’s part of CVS Health, the company says it’s going to expand its digital offerings to increase interaction between its plans, pharmaceutical services and walk-in clinics.

It also offers an Aetna Attain Health app, which allows you to access your benefits information from your mobile device and has partnered with Apple to sync your health history with your Apple Watch. The app has a strong 4.6-star rating at the Apple App Store.

Insurance company Survey score for digital experience
Aetna 37%
Anthem 35%
UnitedHealthcare 31%

How Aetna scores for low deductibles

Customers ranked it well for affordability, but in the middle of the pack for low deductibles.

Insurance company Survey score for low deductibles
Aetna 55%
Humana 77%
UnitedHealthcare 66%

How Aetna scores for its provider network

A healthcare provider network is a group of doctors, specialists and hospitals that provide services to insured members at a lower cost than providers outside the network. A strong provider network can be a key consideration when shopping for a health plan. Aetna ranked in the lower half of the top 10 in this category.

Insurance company Survey score for provider network
Aetna 60%
Anthem 72%
Humana 64%

Aetna health insurance coverage options

  • Insurance for families and individuals
  • Health insurance via employers
  • Medicare and Medicaid plans
  • Military plans
  • Student plans
  • International plans
  • Pharmacy plans

Other Aetna services

  • Dental 
  • Vision
  • Virtual care options

States where Aetna offers coverage

Graph
Table
States where Aetna offers coverage
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
Washington D.C.
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DC DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY
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Company background

Aetna

Aetna is one of the largest health insurance providers in the country and also one of the oldest. Its history traces back to the Aetna Fire Insurance Co., which was established in the early 1800s.

It began offering health insurance in 1899 and in 1907 expanded into the growing arena of automobile insurance. It continued to grow over the years, acquiring various companies, and in 1999 it purchased Prudential HealthCare.

In 2017, Aetna became an acquisition target itself, with CVS successfully launching a $69 billion bid for the company. The merger provided an avenue to direct a steady stream of clients to the pharmacy giant’s drug stores.

It serves more than 35 million people with its health insurance offerings, including a large number of subscribers to its Medicare Advantage plans.

Resources & Methodology

Sources:

Aetna website and CVS Health corporate information. Accessed November 2022.

Methodology

Insure.com in the fall of 2022 surveyed more than 1,500 insurance consumers (775 people with health insurance). The survey was conducted by online market research company Slice MR. 

Respondents were asked to name their insurer and then grade it in the following categories – customer satisfaction, ease of service and policy offerings. The percentage of respondents who said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their insurer is presented in the results.

Survey score calculation: Respondents were then asked to rank their insurer’s top three attributes out of more than a dozen presented – such as its provider network. For a number one choice, five points were given; for a second choice, three points; and for a third choice, a single point. The total points for each choice – first, second and third – were then divided by the number of each company’s customers who responded to that survey question to create a percentage. Those percentages are presented in the results as scores. 

Respondents were then asked if they would recommend their insurer to someone else and if they planned to renew their policies. The percentage who said yes is presented in the results.

They also were given the statement “I trust my insurance company” and asked if they strongly agreed, agreed, disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement. The percentage of those who said they agreed or strongly agreed is presented in the results.

The editors compiled the survey results and then selected – based on the number of survey responses – the top companies for further evaluation. Insure.com needed 20 or more of a company’s customers to respond to the survey for that insurer to be included in the ranking, although in some categories the editors did consider companies with 18 or 19 responses.

They then collected AM Best financial stability ratings and National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) ratings, which evaluate health plans on, among other things, member satisfaction.

With the help of Prof. David Marlett, Ph.D., managing director of the Brantley Risk and Insurance Center at Appalachian State University, the editors created a rating system to determine which insurance companies were best in each sector. For health insurers, we used the following weights to calculate the overall score for each company: 

  • Survey – 60% of total score (10% for customer satisfaction, 10% trustworthiness, 10% for recommending the carrier to another, 10% if a respondent would renew with their current insurer, and 20% if they consider their insurer the best for affordability)
  • AM Best – 25% of total score
  • NCQA – 15% of total score

Each insurer was awarded from 1 to 5 stars. No insurer in our star ranking received less than 1 star and the highest possible ranking is 5 stars.

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Mel Duvall
Contributing Researcher

 
  

Mel Duvall is an award-winning senior business writer and communications professional. Mel also served a three-year term on the Mount Royal University Journalism Committee.

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