Cigna vs. UnitedHealthcare: Medicare Advantage Comparison

UHC offers Medicare Advantage plans in nearly every state, while Cigna’s footprint is smaller. Here's how they compare.
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Cigna Medicare Advantage members have access to a $0-premium plan in every Cigna market, and most of Cigna's members are in highly rated plans.
UnitedHealthcare offers the largest Medicare Advantage network of all companies, with more than 1 million network care providers.

Here’s a look at how Cigna and UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage compare.

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Cigna Medicare Advantage

Cigna Medicare Advantage

Cigna

3.75

CMS Star Rating

Cigna plans are low-cost and member experience scores are about average, but star ratings from CMS have declined.

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States available

29 states and Washington, D.C.


Members in high-rated plans

Medium (50% to 89%)


Member experience

3.53 (Average)


States available

29 states and Washington, D.C.


Members in high-rated plans

Medium (50% to 89%)


Member experience

3.53 (Average)


Pros

  • More than 8 in 10 Cigna plans are $0-premium plans.
  • Offers a range of member benefits, such as 24/7 telehealth, meal delivery and transportation to and from health facilities.

Cons

  • Below-average star ratings.
  • Available in only 29 states and Washington, D.C.
  • The National Committee for Quality Assurance gives all Cigna plans a score of 3.5 stars or lower on their 5-point scale.

Other factors to consider

Provider size

7th-largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare Advantage enrollment

More than 580,000.

Percent of plans rated 4 stars or higher

46%.

Percent of plans with $0 premium

83%.

Plans available

HMO, HMO-POS, PPO, SNP.

Cigna Medicare Advantage service area

UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage

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UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage - UHC

UnitedHealthcare

4.17

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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from UnitedHealthcare

States available

49 states and Washington, D.C.


Members in high-rated plans

Medium (50% to 89%)


Member experience

3.55 (Average)


States available

49 states and Washington, D.C.


Members in high-rated plans

Medium (50% to 89%)


Member experience

3.55 (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 9.4 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.

UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage service area

Still deciding on the right carrier? Compare Medicare Advantage plans

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).

Medicare Advantage review methodology

The Medicare Advantage marketplace is concentrated among just a handful of companies; in many places, one insurer serves more than half of the market. NerdWallet reviewed 26 Medicare Advantage brands, with some insurers having more than one brand under their umbrella. (For example, Blue Cross Blue Shield includes the brands Anthem and Highmark.) At the national level, these reviews include nine of the 10 largest brands by enrollment. At the state level, our research includes at least one major insurer in 47 of the 49 states that offer Medicare Advantage plans, and includes the top two insurers in 35 of those states. (Alaska doesn't offer Medicare Advantage plans.) We also look at online search volume to identify regional and other notable players in the space.

NerdWallet’s Medicare Advantage reviews are based on ratings data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, as well as pricing, plan availability by state, plan types available, consumer experience, extra benefits offered and more. These reviews are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several plans to find the best coverage and rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines for additional information.