Aetna vs United Healthcare: Insurance Provider Comparison

Aetna Insurance Company established a fund in 1850 to market life insurance. The Aetna life and health insurance departments split in 1953. Eliphalet A. Bulkeley served as the company’s first president. The most active volcano in all of Europe, an 11,000-foot volcano in Sicily, Italy, inspired the name “Aetna.”

Richard Burke established UnitedHealth Group in 1977, and the company decided to go public in 1984. Burke received assistance from Dr. Paul Ellwood, who also invented the term “health maintenance organization” and helped launch UnitedHealth. The business developed the very first network senior health plan in 1979.

Now we know the history of Aetna and United Healthcare, the Aetna vs. United Healthcare comparison is going to be more interesting. 

To learn more about these two companies’ policies and understand which one is better, go through the article. The article walks you through the most important features of these two companies and the policies offered by them. 

Aetna vs. United Healthcare Insurance – What You Should Know 


  1. Founded in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1819
  2. Initially an insurance provider for fires
  3. Branched out into life insurance in the middle of the 1800s, and in the early 1900s, produced comprehensive life insurance products.
  4. In the 1900s, acquired NYL Health Plans from Prudential Health Care

United Healthcare

  1. Based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, in 1977
  2. Growing gradually over many years and expanding through acquisitions
  3. Adopts a horizontal acquisition approach; owns a range of healthcare service providers, information solutions companies, and data mining businesses that focus on health-related information. 

Aetna vs. United Healthcare – Statistics 

In relation to removing people from their insurance and hiking premium costs, both firms have faced a number of lawsuits and public backlash. Both corporations actively participated in the development of the historic healthcare reform law of 2010, and officials from both companies participated in discussions with the Presidents and Congress members about the best course of action for American healthcare.

The decision between Aetna and United Healthcare is difficult because they are both market leaders with two different business models. Read our article to find out more about the 2010 US healthcare reform legislation.

Aetna Inc.

  1. 15.8 million policyholders
  2. Employer benefits in all 50 states
  3. Medicare and Medicaid administration in some jurisdictions
  4. 4,716 hospitals
  5. 462,000 primary care physicians
  6. A.M. Best rating

United Healthcare Group

  1. Benefits via employers in all Fifty states and four international markets, 
  2. 18 million policyholders, 
  3. 470,000 primary care providers 
  4. 4,500 hospitals. 
  5. A.M. Best gives it an A

Aetna vs. United Healthcare – Insurance

As you can see, the two businesses appear to be nearly comparable on paper, with United Healthcare being slightly larger. Aetna, though, might have a marginally wider reach because 200 more hospitals across the nation accept it. In the end, though, both have a huge, national impact.

Both firms have an A rating from A.M. Best, indicating that neither faces any risk of defaulting on its obligations to policyholders. You can read the story on the state of United Healthcare.

However, policyholders are recommended to carefully examine the fine print of the policy since health insurance providers may have the discretion to exclude you if a pre-existing condition is discovered and because some hospital stays or treatments may not be completely covered by the policy. Neither business, though, is at immediate risk of failing.

Aetna vs. United Healthcare – Policies and Service Details

We will quickly review some of the health insurance plans and advantages offered by both as it will be insightful to understanding health insurance deductibles provided by Aetna and United Healthcare Group. 

Aetna Inc.

  1. Various HMO and PPO options depending on your state
  2. global employer-based health plans utilized by companies across
  3. a variety of personal health insurance programs
  4. HSAs (health savings accounts) and plans are available in several states.
  5. The majority of states provide preventive healthcare plans for things like doctor checkups.
  6. States have a wide range of specific strategies.

United Healthcare Group

  1. A comparable selection of HMO and PPO plans
  2. They place a strong emphasis on individual health plans, but they also provide employer-based insurance.
  3. Many different HSA alternatives, with more opportunities to reduce costs and maintain your health
  4. Generally slightly more expensive
  5. Specific programs continue to differ slightly between states.

Aetna vs. United Healthcare – Coverage

From a purely planning perspective, UHC seems to have an advantage over Aetna. Its HSA offerings are much more extensive, and its possibilities are more consistent from state to state. Generally speaking, UHC offers significantly better value, particularly if you’re trying to find an individual health care plan.

You may have a better chance if you want to choose and select a service provider you get along with because UHC employs a few more doctors. Aetna might be a better option if you’re worried about losing your health coverage if you relocate because it covers a few more facilities and regions than UHC.

On the other hand, Aetna’s architecture makes it far simpler to offer insurance to every employee of a company when it pertains to commercial insurance plans. When businesses purchase insurance policies in bulk, Aetna provides greater opportunities for discounts. Due to this, many businesses that provide health benefits use Aetna, even if United Healthcare may provide slightly better individual coverage options.

Aetna vs United Healthcare – Other Considerations

To be fair, hospital staff members like CRNA‘s and executives greatly love working with Aetna over United Healthcare. United Healthcare consistently had the lowest payer and provider satisfaction scores, according to the 225 hospital and healthcare executives who participate in the annual “National Payor Survey” (2010 edition).

Aetna, meanwhile, has maintained its position as the top plan in the study for the last three years. The survey focuses mostly on how health care professionals perceive the ease of doing business with various insurance carriers.

Hope this article offered you insights on the differences between Aetna and United Healthcare and the policies covered by them. However, there is more to it that may not be possible to cover in this article. Have a question unanswered? Let me know in the comment box. 

Aetna vs United Healthcare: Insurance Provider Comparison was last updated May 9th, 2023 by Lokesh Jaral