Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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Aetna vs. Health Net

When it comes to the American health care benefits industry, it’s almost impossible to leave out two longstanding participants: these include the pre-war Aetna Insurance Company, and the equally ubiquitous Health Net Insurance Company.

This may be due to their nature as large publicly traded companies, with nationwide operations all over the US. What follows is a comparison of the two insurance provider behemoths, with regards to products provided, history, and member reviews.


While both companies take a consumer-directed approach when designing their products, they structure them differently, though they may sometimes share the same names, or accord the same benefits.
Below is a list of categories Aetna uses, in which all its products lie.

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Dental Plans

  • The DMO,
  • The Dental PPO or PDN &
  • The Dental Indemnity

Health Expense Funds

The Health Savings Account, the Health Reimbursement Arrangement and the Flexible Spending Account

Pharmacy Plans and Services

Help reduce a member’s prescription costs.

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Medicare Insurance

  • The Aetna Medicare Advantage Plan
  • The Aetna Medicare Supplement Plan &
  • The Aetna Medicare Rx Plan

Disability Insurance

Provide financial security to members in case of any qualifying disability.

Life Insurance

  • Basic Term Life
  • Supplemental Term Life
  • Accidental Death and Personal Loss &
  • Dependent Life Insurance and Dependent AD&PL

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Behavioral and Mental Health Insurance

Provide mental health benefits such as depression treatment for terminally ill members.

Wellness Products and Discounts

  • The Aetna BookSM Discount Program
  • The Aetna FitnessSM Discount Program
  • The Aetna Natural Products and ServicesSM Discount Program
  • The Aetna Weight ManagementSM Discount Program
  • Aetna Wellness Counseling
  • The Beginning RightSM Maternity Program
  • Informed Health® Line
  • Simple Steps To A Healthier Life®
  • Vital Savings by Aetna® &
  • Zagat® Discounts

Vision Plans

Accord eye examination discounts to any interested member.

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Student Health Insurance

Cover student health

Below lies a similar count of Health Net.

Plans for Individuals and Families

Herein lies Health Maintenance Organization plans (HMOs), Preferred Provider Organization plans (PPOs) and Highly-Deductible HSA-Compatible plans. One may ask one’s self if they should buy supplemental health insurance. That questions should be answered here.

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Medicare Plans

A wide variety customizable to each unique case.

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Group Plans

Categorized into large group and small group, but also including dental and vision plans.

And the above is dependent on one of 4 states (for this review, Arizona).
NB: MHN, Health Net’s behavioral health services subsidiary, accords behavioral and mental health insurance to any interested party.
As a keen observer may soon notice, product offerings are largely similar, and with slight variations in terminology and coverage.


Aetna began as a descendant of Aetna (Fire) Insurance Company, which provided property protection against fire. It began life operations in 1850, at a time when life insurance was considered sinful by the church. This was the beginning of the Aetna Life Insurance Company, once an Annuity department of its parent company Aetna Insurance.
Yearly growth saw it embark on an aggressive expansion plan with the acquisition of two big health care companies, that is the NYLCare Health Plans for $1.05 billion, and Prudential Healthcare for $1 billion.
Concentrating in health care, Aetna also sold off its financial services and international business segment to ING for $7.7 billion.
It also began offering pet (health) insurance in 2008.
While Health Net Insurance’s history mightn’t be readily accessible, its current positon in the health care industry suggests a similar trail of events, with acquisitions and specialization tactics being the major driver towards growth.

Member Reviews

While the two companies may harbor a large consumer base, they may not be the most loved amongst consumers. Below are a few comments from the insurance review section of Free Advice (, regarding Health Net Insurance
“Health Net is organized crime! Our plan switches over in November (because that is the way our company’s HR person set it up). So anyone who uses the coverage in December and again in the next year has to pay all deductibles TWICE!!! And Health Net knows about the problem and assures us there is just nothing they can do. They are crooks! Look elsewhere.”

“Where do I start with Health Net?”
Though a few good mentions exist as well.
“Shocked to see the company’s poor rating. They have been there for my family’s EVERY health insurance need. I cannot imagine a better company out there! ”
“Very good company”

The same applies for Aetna
“very rude…poor customer service”
“I don’t recommend this company to anyone. Stay away from it if you can”
“Very good company. They make timely payments, and charge low co-pays”

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Repetitive mentions

1. Poor customer service
Both companies are blamed for having poor customer service, with claim requests being ignored more often than not, and constantly delaying payments. Clients are forever raising hue and cry about having to pay for what they’ve already insured themselves against, and receiving a cold shoulder for any reimbursements.
Company staff are also said to give conflicting information, and may sometimes be extremely rude to calling clients. They may also lose important documents sent to them, not making it an immediate emergency to relocate and resend the sent item.
2. Rampant premium increases
Another similarity between the two companies lies in their notorious habit of rampantly increasing premiums, sometimes even at the very start of the insurance experience. In these scenarios, they may sometimes give a lower online quote, only to charge you a higher fee once you subscribe to their service.
Over the insurance period, they may also charge you increasingly higher premiums, even in the absence of any significant change in one’s health.
3. No way to opt out
Even when dissatisfied, disgruntled clients have sometimes faced the misfortune of not having the option to opt out, and have had to bear what they consider blatant theft.

Both companies have a lot to offer to parties interested in health insurance. And while the above might be deemed informative enough, it mightn’t hurt to engage the services of a registered agent in order to know more about their services. This also applies to product quotes, as online quotes may be necessarily dated.

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