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Aetna vs. Cigna: Medicare Advantage Comparison
Aetna offers Medicare Advantage plans in more states and enjoys slightly higher ratings, but Cigna’s ratings aren’t far behind.
Kate Ashford, CSA® Lead Writer | Medicare, retirement, personal finance
Kate Ashford is a writer and NerdWallet authority on Medicare. She is a certified senior advisor (CSA)® and has more than 18 years of experience writing about personal finance. Previously, she was a freelance writer for both consumer and business publications, and her work has been published by the BBC, Forbes, Money, AARP, LearnVest and Parents, among others. She has a degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. Kate has appeared as a Medicare expert on the PennyWise podcast by Lee Enterprises, and she's been quoted in national publications including Healthline, Real Simple and SingleCare. She is based in New York.
Holly Carey joined NerdWallet in 2021 as an editor on the team responsible for expanding content to additional topics within personal finance. She currently leads the Medicare team. Previously, Holly wrote and edited content and developed digital media strategies as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Navy. She is based in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
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Aetna Medicare Advantage offers a strong menu of benefits with widely available plans and member experience ratings that are above the industry average. Aetna also covers more than six times the number of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries that Cigna covers.
Cigna Medicare Advantage offers plans in fewer states than Aetna, and Cigna’s overall member experience and star ratings are slightly lower than Aetna’s. Both providers offer Medicare Advantage plans targeted toward veterans, although Cigna’s Courage plans are available in 17 states and Aetna’s Eagle plans are available in 43 states. Cigna does have a plan in most of its markets that offers a Part B premium rebate.
Here’s a look at how Aetna and Cigna compare.
Aetna Medicare Advantage
CMS Star RatingAverage Medicare star rating, weighted by enrollment. Star ratings are determined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Aetna Medicare Advantage plans are widely available and offer a variety of extra benefits. Member experience scores are also high, although star ratings fall just below the industry average.
What are the plan’s costs? Do you understand what the plan’s premium, deductibles, copays and/or coinsurance will be? Can you afford them?
Is your doctor in-network? If you have a preferred medical provider or providers, make sure they participate in the plan’s network.
Are your prescriptions covered? If you’re on medication, it’s crucial to understand how the plan covers it. What tier are your prescription drugs on, and are there any coverage rules that apply to them?
Is there dental coverage? Does the plan offer routine coverage for vision, dental and hearing needs?
Are there extras? Does the plan offer any extra benefits, such as fitness memberships, transportation benefits or meal delivery?
If you have additional questions about Medicare, visit Medicare.gov or call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227, TTY 877-486-2048).