Aetna vs. UnitedHealthcare: Medicare Advantage Comparison

Choosing between Aetna and UHC will require weighing the benefits you want and ensuring access to the medical providers you need.
Kate Ashford, CSA®
By Kate Ashford, CSA® 
Updated
Edited by Holly Carey

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UnitedHealthcare is the biggest Medicare Advantage provider and offers the largest Medicare Advantage network, although star ratings from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are slightly below average. Aetna is available in almost all states, but Medicare Advantage enrollment is about a third of enrollment for UHC. Aetna offers a strong menu of benefits and similar just-below-average star ratings, and member experience is above average.

Here’s a look at how Aetna and UnitedHealthcare compare:

Aetna Medicare Advantage

Aetna Medicare Advantage

Aetna

3.98

CMS Star Rating

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.

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from askchapter.org

States available

46 states and Washington, D.C.


Members in high-rated plans

Medium (50% to 89%)


Member experience

3.79 (Above average)


States available

46 states and Washington, D.C.


Members in high-rated plans

Medium (50% to 89%)


Member experience

3.79 (Above average)


Pros

  • In addition to dental, vision and hearing, many plans offer perks like an over-the-counter allowance, meal delivery and in-home health visits.
  • More than 8 in 10 Medicare-eligible beneficiaries have access to a $0-premium Aetna plan.
  • Available in 46 states and Washington, D.C.

Cons

  • Customer satisfaction lands below industry average in some major Medicare markets.

Other factors to consider

Provider size

4th-largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare Advantage enrollment

More than 3.3 million.

Percent of plans rated 4 stars or higher

59%.

Percent of plans with $0 premium

71%.

Plans available

HMO, HMO-POS, PPO, SNP.

UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage

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UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage - UHC

UnitedHealthcare

3.87

CMS Star Rating

UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans are widely available and boast the largest Medicare Advantage provider network, although member experience ratings are average.

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Call UnitedHealthcare

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from UnitedHealthcare

States available

49 states and Washington, D.C.


Members in high-rated plans

Medium (50% to 89%)


Member experience

3.12 (Average)


States available

49 states and Washington, D.C.


Members in high-rated plans

Medium (50% to 89%)


Member experience

3.12 (Average)


Pros

  • Largest Medicare Advantage medical network of all companies, with more than 1 million providers.
  • Largest Medicare Advantage dental network, and all standard plans offer dental coverage.
  • Available in 49 states and Washington, D.C.

Cons

  • Member experience scores are average.
  • Offers one of the highest-priced special needs plans, although lower-priced plans are also available.

Other factors to consider

Provider size

Largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare Advantage enrollment

More than 8.9 million.

Percent of plans rated 4 stars or higher

53%.

Percent of plans with $0 premium

69%.

Plans available

HMO, HMO-POS, PPO, PFFS, SNP.

Find the right Medicare Advantage plan

It’s important to do your research before selecting a Medicare Advantage plan for yourself. Here are some questions to consider asking:

  • 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).

Still deciding on the right carrier? Compare Medicare Advantage plans

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