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Alex Enabnit

S&P Ranking A-

RX Plans None*


S&P Ranking A

RX Plans Nationwide

*Aetna no longer sells Part D prescription drug plans under its own names. It does, however, sell SilverScript plans. Stay tuned for our review of  Silverscript. When we publish that, we’ll add a link here.

You have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a Medicare plan. Although a range of choices can help ensure you find a plan that works for your needs, it can also make choosing a plan challenging. Our comparison of  plans from two popular companies, Aetna and Cigna, can help you weigh various benefits. We’ll start with a 30,000 foot view of what both companies have to offer.

Aetna vs. Cigna Medicare comparison

Access to provider networks1.2 million health care professionals (globally)11.5 million health care professionals (globally)2
Medicare Advantage44 states and DC326 states and DC4
Medicare Supplement44 states543 states and DC6
Prescription Drug PlansNone7Nationwide8
Plans offered
Medicare AdvantageHMO, PPO, SNP, HMO-POS*9HMO, PPO, SNP, HMO-POS*10
Medicare SupplementA, B, F, high deductible F, G, & N*11A, F, high deductible F, G, & N*12
Prescription Drug PlansNone133 plans14
Financial rankings
Standard & Poor's (S&P)A-15A16
Avg. Medicare Star Rating
Medicare Advantage4.09/5174.7/518
Medicare Part DN/A193.5/520
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Data effective 12/12/2019.
*Subject to vary by state.

Provider network access

Because Original Medicare and Medicare Supplement (or Medigap) plans allow you to see any doctor who accepts Medicare, provider networks don’t apply to those plans.

But with Medicare Advantage, plans often have rules for which doctors and providers you can see. If you go with Aetna, you get access to the company’s approximately 1.2 million health care providers worldwide. But Cigna has an even larger provider network, with 1.5 million health care providers across the globe.

Availability by location

You can purchase a Part D prescription drug plan (PDP) from Cigna no matter which state you live in. Aetna no longer sells its own prescription drug plans.

Aetna sells Medicare Advantage plans in 44 states and DC. Contrast this with Cigna, which sells Medicare Advantage plans in only 15 states and DC.

Nearly every state can get a Cigna or Aetna Medigap plan but, between the two, only Cigna offers Medigap coverage in DC.

Comparing the plans offered

Both Aetna and Cigna offer Medicare Advantage plans and primarily sell HMO or PPO plans. Both companies also offer HMO SNPs (Special Needs Plans) or HMO-POS (Point of Service) plans in select states.

Aetna vs. Cigna Medicare Advantage plans*

Plan TypeAetna21Cigna22
HMOAetna Medicare Value PlanCigna-HealthSpring Preferred
HMOAetna Medicare Platinum PlanCigna-HealthSpring PreventiveCare
PPOAetna Medicare Premier PlanCigna-HealthSpring Preferred
HMO SNPAetna Medicare Dual CompleteCigna-HealthSpring Preferred HMO

Data effective 12/12/2019.
*Subject to vary by state.

If you are considering purchasing a Medicare Advantage plan, we recommend looking at how Cigna compares to other providers, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield or United Healthcare.

Aetna vs Cigna Medicare Supplement plans*

Plan AYesYes
Plan BYesNo
Plan CNoNo
Plan DNoNo
Plan FYesYes
Plan GYesYes
Plan KNoNo
Plan LNoNo
Plan MNoNo
Plan NYesYes
High-deductible FYesYes

Data effective 12/12/2019.
*Subject to vary by state.

Each Medicare Supplement plan helps pay for a different portion of costs not covered by Original Medicare. The chart below details the coverage of each of these plans, so look it over to find out which benefits each Medigap plan includes. Remember that not all Medicare Supplement plans are available in all areas. You can also visit our Medigap plan comparison guide for more details.

 Medicare Supplement plans
Medicare Supplement plan benefitsABCDFGKLMN
1.Part A coinsurance/hospital costsYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
2.Part B coinsurance/copaymentYesYesYesYesYesYes50%75%YesYes
3.Blood (first 3 pints)YesYesYesYesYesYes50%75%YesYes
4.Part A hospice care coinsuranceYesYesYesYesYesYes50%75%YesYes
5.Skilled nursing facility care coinsuranceNoNoYesYesYesYes50%75%YesYes
6.Part A deductibleNoYesYesYesYesYes50%75%50%Yes
7.Part B deductibleNoNoYesNoYesNoNoNoNoNo
8.Part B excess chargeNoNoNoNoYesYesNoNoNoNo
9.Foreign travel coverageNoNo80%80%80%80%NoNo80%80%
10.Out-of-pocket limitNoNoNoNoNoNo$5,560 $2,780 NoNo

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Comparing financial rankings

One way to measure an insurance company’s strength is by looking at its financial ratings. Certain organizations, like Standard & Poor’s (S&P), review these companies’ financial data to make predictions on how stable they are—in essence, how likely it is that they will be able to continue paying claims for the foreseeable future.

Aetna vs. Cigna Financial ratings

Standard & Poor's (S&P)A-A

Aetna is rated A- by Standard & Poor’s for financial strength, while Cigna is rated at an A. According to S&P, the “A” category means the company has “strong financial security characteristics but is somewhat more likely to be affected by adverse business conditions than are insurers with higher ratings.”25 The minus (-) added to Aetna’s grade simply means it’s at the lower end of the rating.

To summarize, Cigna is in slightly better financial standing than Aetna according to Standard and Poor’s, but not by very much.

Final thoughts

If you’re looking for a comprehensive Advantage plan, prescription drug coverage, or Medigap plans, both Aetna or Cigna may have plenty of options, depending on where you live.

Are you ready to compare quotes from Cigna and Aetna to see what will work best for you? Call the number below for help.

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1. Aetna, “Aetna Facts
2. Cigna, “A Global Approach
3. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “2020 Medicare Advantage Landscape
4. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “2020 Medicare Advantage Landscape
5. Aetna, “Medicare Supplement Plans in Your State
6. Cigna, “State Disclosures, Exclusions, Limitations & Reductions
7. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “2020 Medicare Prescription Drug Landscape
8. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “2020 Medicare Prescription Drug Landscape
9. Aetna, “Medicare Advantage Plans
10. Cigna, “Medicare Advantage Plans
11. Aetna, “Outline of Coverage
12. Cigna, “Compare Medicare Supplement Plans
13. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “2020 Medicare Prescription Drug Landscape
14. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “2020 Medicare Prescription Drug Landscape
15. S&P Global, “S&P Downgrades Aetna, Subsidiaries
16. S&P Global, “S&P Downgrades Cigna, Subsidiaries
17. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “2020 Medicare Advantage Landscape
18. Cigna, “Cigna Medicare Supplement Insurance
19. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “2020 Medicare Prescription Drug Landscape
20. S&P Global Ratings, “Understanding Ratings
21. Aetna, “Medicare Advantage Plans
22. Cigna, “Medicare Advantage Plans
23. Aetna, “A Reliable Way to Limit Your Out-of-Pocket Costs
24. Cigna, “Compare Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans
25. Standard and Poors, “S&P Global Ratings Definitions

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