Aetna vs. United Healthcare

At least you’ve got your health. How many times have you heard that? It is true, there is nothing more important than one’s health. There are many things you can do on your own to stay healthy but you still need some help from medical professionals. Healthcare can be very expensive, hence the need for health insurance.

There is a good reason why this subject is so hotly debated almost anywhere you look. Good insurance is one of the most important aspects of staying healthy. Two of the larger insurance companies that offer these types of policies are Aetna and United Healthcare.

Two Health Insurance Leaders

Aetna and United Healthcare are both undisputed leaders in the health insurance field. Aetna has been around much longer having been founded in 1819 in Hartford, CT. United Healthcare was started in Minnetonka, MN in 1977. Each operates on a different business model but both provided excellent and affordable policies. Let’s see how Aetna and United Healthcare measure up.


Employees in all 50 states offer health benefits through Aetna and it has 15.8 million policyholders. Aetna enjoys an A rating by the A.M. Best company. It has 462,000 primary care doctors and physicians and 4,716 hospitals in its network. Aetna only administers Medicare and Medicaid in selected states. Some of the options offered by Aetna include:

  • Top-of-the-Line employer-based health plans used by companies in all 50 states
  • Depending on the state, a large variety of HMO and PPO plans
  • Preventative care plans for doctor visits in most states
  • A wide variety of individual healthcare plans
  • Health Savings Accounts included with plans in many states

Aetna is an excellent choice for businesses that provide health benefits to their employees. Its architecture streamlines the process of insuring all workers.

United Healthcare

United Healthcare has 18 million policyholders and employer-based benefits in all 50 states as well as in four international markets. Its network has 470,000 primary care doctors and physicians and 4,500 hospitals.

United Healthcare administers Medicare and Medicaid in every state and also has a marketplace for individuals and families who don’t qualify for either Medicare or Medicaid. Like Aetna, United Healthcare received an A rating from A.M. Best. United Healthcare offers many options including:

  • A range of HMO and PPO plans similar to that offered by Aetna
  • A wide variety of HSA options designed to help you save money
  • Employer-based plans are available but the emphasis is on individual plans
  • The details of plans vary slightly from state to state
  • Overall, United Healthcare’s plans are a little more expensive than Aetna’s

United Healthcare is generally a better option for individual health plans. Its options vary less in different states than those of Aetna. There are also more opportunities to save through HSAs.

Both Aetna and United Healthcare are well-respected health insurance providers. They are large companies that offer many options. You really can’t go wrong with either. In general, Aetna is a better choice for employer-based insurance plans, while United Healthcare is a good way to go for individuals and families seeking coverage.

You may also like: Everything You Need to Know about Massage Therapy