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 Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Apr 28, 2022

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Aetna vs United Healthcare Insurance Company: Reviews on Aetna Health Insurance and United Healthcare Insurance

Is Aetna good health insurance? What do United Healthcare PPO reviews say? How do you decide between Aetna vs United Healthcare insurance company?

Choosing an insurance provider is always difficult. How are they different?  How does one provide a better deal than the other? Sometimes it’s best to see a comparison between two high-quality health insurance providers by setting them against one another. You can also read our article on how to find a good health insurance agent to learn more.

Compare insurance providers and start saving now by entering your ZIP code into our FREE quote comparison tool to find affordable health insurance quotes in your area. You may even be able to get a quote from United Healthcare or Aetna.

Not yet ready to buy health insurance? Read on to learn more about Aetna vs UHC and see which health insurance company is best for you.


Both United Healthcare and Aetna Health are nationally-recognized insurers with hundreds of thousands of policyholders across the country. Both would be excellent choices for a high-quality, reliable policy.

However, which one is better? The only way to find out is to compare and contrast the statistics, plans, features, and qualities of each. This review breaks it down for you so you don’t have to do all the research yourself. In the end, you may choose to buy an Aetna or United Healthcare policy, or you may decide that neither has what you need.

Both Aetna Health and United Healthcare have distinct pros and cons, and ultimately, it is up to you to decide which one you or your family needs to stay healthy. Read this United vs. Aetna health insurance article, then reference individual reviews for each company before making a final decision.

A health insurance policy is a large and important purchase, and you want to make sure you make the best choice that will save you money while providing all the policy features you need.

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Basics of Aetna vs United Healthcare Insurance Company

Below, we will analyze the basics of Aetna and United Healthcare.


* Founded in 1819 in Hartford, CT
* Initially a fire insurance company
* Branched into life insurance in the mid-1800s, developed extensive life insurance policies in the early 1900s
* Acquired NYL Health Plans in Prudential Health Care in the 1900s

Aetna is one of the largest health insurance companies at the forefront of saving money in the health insurance world. Aetna has maintained a network provider base that continues to grow; as well as millions of policyholders across the country! Aetna is one of the largest insurers in the United States. Many health insurance providers look to the example set by Aetna to develop business plans.

United Healthcare

* Founded in 1977 in Minnetonka, MN
* Slow, steady growth over the decades, building through acquisitions
* Horizontal acquisition strategy; owns a variety of healthcare service providers, information solutions businesses, and data mining companies specializing in health-related information

While United Healthcare, is a much newer organization, this health insurance provider’s strength lies in its diversification strategy. UHC seems to have a health insurance plan for everyone. This is because they offer benefits for Medicare and Medicaid recipients; as well as health insurance marketplace plans for individuals and families that do not qualify for Medicaid or Medicare.

Aetna vs United Healthcare – History Comparison

Both companies have seen a number of lawsuits and popular pushback related to dropping people from their policies and raising premium prices. Both also took an active interest in the shaping of the landmark healthcare reform bill of 2010, and executives from both companies played a role in consulting with the President and members of Congress on the best way forward for health care in the United States.

As leaders in the field with two distinct business models, the choice between Aetna and United Healthcare is not easy. If you’d like to learn more about what is in the 2010 US healthcare reform bill, read our article.

Without further adieu, let’s move into Aetna vs. UHC UnitedHealthcare: important statistics.

Aetna Inc.

* 15.8 million policyholders
* Benefits through employers in all 50 states
* Administers Medicare and Medicaid in selected states
* 462,000 physicians and primary care doctors
* 4,716 hospitals
* A.M. Best rating of A

United Healthcare Group

* 18 million policyholders
* Benefits through employers in all 50 states with 4 international markets
* 470,000 physicians and primary care doctors
* 4,500 hospitals
* A.M. Best rating of A

Aetna vs United Healthcare Insurance Company Stats

As you can see, on paper, the two companies are virtually identical, with United Healthcare the slightly larger company. However, Aetna arguably has a slightly greater reach, as it is accepted in 200 more hospitals around the country. Ultimately, however, the two have the same vast, national reach.

The A.M. Best rating of A for both companies indicates that neither is in any danger of failing to meet its obligations to policyholders. You can read the article from on the affirmation of United Healthcare’s status.

However, policyholders are advised to read the fine print of their policy very carefully, as health insurance companies may reserve the right to exclude you if you are found to have a pre-existing condition and certain treatments or hospital visits may not be fully covered under the policy. However, neither company is in any danger of going bankrupt any time soon.

Start saving money on insurance by entering your ZIP code into our FREE quote comparison tool.

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Health Insurance Policies and Services Details At a Glance

Below we’ll take a quick look at some of the health insurance options and benefits from both providers.


  • Wide range of HMO and PPO plans, dependent upon your state
  • World-class employer-based health plans used by businesses across the country
  • Many different individual health insurance plans
  • Many states offer HSAs (health savings accounts) with plans
  • Most states offer preventative care plans for doctor visits, etc.
  • Specific plans vary widely from state to state

United Healthcare

  • A similar range of HMO and PPO plans
  • Emphasis on individual-based health plans, though they also offer employer-based policies
  • Many different HSA options, with more possibilities that can save you money and keep you healthy
  • Slightly more expensive overall
  • Specific plans still vary slightly from state to state

Aetna vs United Healthcare Insurance Company Coverage

From a pure planning front, it would appear that UHC has the edge over Aetna. Its options are more uniform from state to state, and its HSA offerings are far more comprehensive. In general, you get slightly more for your money with UHC, especially if you’re looking for an individual health plan.

Furthermore, UHC employs slightly more doctors, so you might have a better chance if you want to pick and choose a service provider you get along with. However, Aetna operates in a few more hospitals and locations than UHC does, so if you’re concerned about not being able to move with your health plan, Aetna might be a better choice.

On the other hand, when it comes to business insurance plans, Aetna’s architecture makes it a lot easier to provide insurance to all the members of a company. Aetna offers more options for savings when companies buy insurance policies in bulk. For this reason, many companies that offer health benefits go through Aetna, even though on an individual policy level, United Healthcare might be slightly better.

Other Qualities

For what it’s worth, hospital workers and administrators much prefer working with Aetna over working with United Healthcare. According to the 2010 “National Payor Survey,” given to 225 hospital and healthcare executives every year, United Healthcare ranked the worst in payer and provider satisfaction for four years running.

Meanwhile, Aetna has been ranked the top plan on the survey for the past three years running. The survey primarily looks at how health care providers feel about the different insurance companies in terms of how easy they are to do business with.

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Compare Aetna Plans and United Healthcare Plans

This article is designed to give you a broad overview of the difference between Aetna and United Healthcare. It is somewhat long on generalities and short on details. If, after reading this, you are still undecided, you should look up different plans and compare quotes for a more comprehensive view.

To aid in the hunt for insurance, enter your ZIP code into our FREE quote comparison tool to find affordable health insurance rates in your area and start saving.