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Aetna Life Insurance Review (Coverage Comparisons & More)

Key InfoCompany Specifics
Year Founded1853
Current ExecutivesCEO - Larry J. Merlo
COO - Jonathan C. Roberts
CFO - Eva Boratto
Number of Employees49,828
Total Sales$60,535,000,000
Total Assets$57,103,000,000
HQ Address151 Farmington Avenue Hartford, CT 06156
Phone Number1-800-872-3862
Company Websitehttps://aetna.com
Premiums Written-Group Life$938,986,033
Premiums Written-Individual Life$21,081,802
Financial Standing$594,000,000
Best ForHealth Insurance

Aetna has been around for more than 160 years and has served millions of customers. Their primary business dealings are in regard to healthcare. Despite many changes, such as mergers and selling off part of the Aetna empire, Aetna Life Insurance is still the underwriter for Group Term Life Insurance.

The biggest downfall when searching for life insurance through Aetna is you must be an employer seeking health and life coverage for your employees. From an individual standpoint, Aetna only offers individualized health insurance, unless you wish to add to your coverage offered through your employer during the open enrollment period.

If you are an employer, Aetna does offer some of the lowest rates for healthcare policies. Those policies also allow employees to obtain life insurance through Aetna.

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Aetna’s Ratings

A.M. BestA
Better Busines BureauA+
Moody's RatingA2
S&P RatingA-
NAIC Complaint Index - Group1.13
Consumer Affair1.5/5 stars based on 151 ratings

– A.M. Best

Best’s credit ratings are forward-looking, independent, and objective opinions regarding insurer’s, issuer’s, or financial obligation’s relative creditworthiness. In short, it allows the consumer a professional risk assessment of any rated company.

Best’s Financial Strength Ratings focus on how well the company can hold up its end of the bargain. Aetna has received a Best’s Financial Strength Rating of A, signifying that it has an excellent ability to meet their obligations.

– Better Busines Bureau

The BBB ratings do not focus on money but on the interactions between business and consumers. It is important to note that customer reviews are not used; only public sources and those directly from businesses are taken into consideration.

There are seven rating elements the BBB evaluated before giving Aetna an A+. The A+ means that Aetna has been operating a long time with minimal complaints and even less unresolved complaints.

– Moody’s Rating

Moody’s uses 10 factors to provide the framework for their ratings. They utilize historical and forward-looking data to rate the financial strength of companies by focusing on business, financial, and operating factors.

Aetna obtained an A2 rating, meaning that it has a strong ability to repay any short-term obligation.

– S&P Rating

At S&P, credit ratings provide forward-looking credit risk which assists in developing smooth-functioning capital markets by providing information and insight to market participants. Aetna received an A-, which means they are somewhat more susceptible to changing economic conditions than a company with a higher rating.

However, this does not discredit the fact that they still can meet all financial commitments.

– NAIC Complaint Index

The purpose of a National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Complaint Index is to compare the performances of different companies. 1.00 is the national average, so anything above means more complaints than average and anything below means fewer.

To determine a company’s index, you must divide the number of complaints by the number of premiums written. Aetna has an index of 1.13, which is only slightly above average in the number of complaints based on group life insurance.

– Consumer Affairs

Of all the rating agencies, Consumer Affairs bases its ratings strictly on the ratings and opinions of actual consumers. Out of 151 ratings by customers, Aetna averages a star and a half on a five-star scale. It is easy to see that many individual consumers do not think highly of Aetna as a company.

Company History

Aetna has a history dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. In 1850, Aetna Insurance Company organized an annuity fund to sell life insurance. Three years later, that department branched off as the Aetna Life Insurance Company. They chose to keep the same name, a unique one coming from the most active volcano in Europe, Mount Etna.

During the next 10 years, Aetna faced possible liquidation and then moved to expand to better situate themselves in the market. This expansion paid off due to the rise of life insurance policies being purchased during the Civil War. By the time the war ended, Aetna had reached $1 million in annual income.

The rest of the 19th century saw more expansion. Aetna began providing farm mortgages and accident coverage.  Aetna was the first stock insurance company to offer health insurance, but only to those who had a life insurance policy with them.

The early 1900s saw the creation of Aetna Accident and Liability Company, the beginnings of auto coverage, and the creation of a department to handle group life insurance. Aetna was an innovative company that introduced new technologies to become more efficient and profitable at every turn.

Throughout hardships, such as war and the Great Depression, Aetna provided stability for its employees as well as the company. Giving became a priority for the company as it contributed to the Greater Hartford Community Chest fundraiser, started in 1924, an act that became a long-standing tradition.

Many large governmental projects were also financially connected to Aetna. For example, the construction of the Hoover Dam (see video below), aiding in war efforts, insuring the Manhattan Project and the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.

Group life insurance continues to grow throughout the ’40s and ’50s, including providing coverage for the United Nations. This timeframe also saw technological growth: the introduction of the first automobile simulator as well as the introduction of computers.

In 1960, Aetna expanded its growth beyond the U.S. and acquired the Excelsior Life Insurance Company from Canada. Six years later, Aetna and Assicurazioni Generali form an international insurance network reaching more than 70 countries.

In 1990, Aetna stops providing individual policies and in ’96 its property-casualty department is sold to Travelers Insurance Group. During the end of the 20th century, Aetna acquired NYLCare Health plans, Prudential Healthcare, and Financial Network Investment Company.

Since the turn of the century, Aetna has sold its financial services and international businesses to ING, revamped its healthcare by collaborating with physicians, and placed underserved areas, like disability and end-of-life care, as priorities.

During the last ten years, Aetna has acquired Prodigy Health Group, Coventry Health Care, Inc., bswift (tech platform), and InterGlobal Group (U.K.). They also sold its group life and disability businesses to the Hartford, leaving them to provide a select few voluntary life insurance benefits through group healthcare policies.

Finally, Aetna was acquired by CVS late in 2018. The combination of companies allows for improved and simplified health care.

– Aetna’s Market Share

In 2015 and 2016, Aetna had a market share percentage of 3.2 and 3 respectively. Two years ago, they did not make the top 10 companies and last year they were acquired by CVS Health, who had a market share of 2.8 percent.

The Aetna Life Insurance Company has 19 subsidiaries in four different states: Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and California. Aetna Life Insurance Company is a subsidiary of Aetna Inc.

Though Aetna is still the name under which many of its subsidiaries are listed, CVS has bought out Aetna, making CVS the true parent company.

Over four years, the total number of premiums as well as Aetna’s market share has decreased slightly. In 2015, Aetna was ninth when it comes to group life insurance premiums. A year later, it dropped to number 10 and has remained there.

– Aetna’s Position for the Future

At the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019, Aetna was bought out by and merged with CVS Health. Though Aetna Life Insurance Company is still the underwriter, life insurance through this company seems to be on the decline. Aetna Health Insurance, however, seems to be booming and continues to grow.

They have started to combine insurance policies to make it easier for employers to offer healthcare to their employees. Many people do not want to go searching for a life insurance policy if it is available to combine with their pre-existing insurance.

– Aetna’s Online Presence

Aetna has a strong online presence in terms of associated websites. Each associated company seems to have its own website. Those in each state, as well as those looking for any type of insurance, can find an affiliated Aetna company online.

Finding an agent is not very convenient. It is easier to find out how to become an agent/producer. Additionally, Aetna is on social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. Aetna uses Twitter as a customer service tool by encouraging people to ask their questions via tweets.

– Aetna’s Commercials

Many of Aetna’s Life Insurance commercials date back to the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. In this popular one with a riderless red bike, they talk about how the people at every step of production, (i.e. the factory worker, the delivery driver, the store owner) were all covered by Aetna Life and Casualty Insurance.

Take this short and simple ad from 1992. We are shown different milestones that can be protected from catastrophe by having life insurance as a safety net. To emphasize the importance of life, the audio playing in the background is a doctor directing a woman in labor until we finally hear a baby cry.

The newer commercials focus primarily on medicare, retirement, and healthcare, rather than life insurance specifically. This is due to the selling and merging of many of the insurance policies that are offered through Aetna.

– Aetna’s Employees

The most vital aspect of a company is its employees, for without them there would be no business at all. Of course, how well these employees are treated directly affects how the customers are treated. Only 63 percent of past or current employees would recommend to a friend to work at Aetna.

Also, only 48 percent see Aetna as having a positive business outlook. At glassdoor.com, Aetna receives an average of 3.4 stars compared to a star and a half at consumeraffairs.com. From an employee standpoint, it seems that Aetna is a somewhat mediocre place to work.

Shopping for Life Insurance

It can be overwhelming going through dozens of websites for different insurance policies. Aetna Life Insurance is a company that only sells group life insurance through employers. However, just because you can obtain a life insurance policy through your employer does not always mean it is the best option.

The biggest plus for employers is that they can purchase all types of insurance, including life insurance, from one place. Aetna requires the employer to pay for at least 50 percent of their employees’ premiums. The types of coverage and costs vary based on the size of the company.

The best way to understand what options are available to you and your business is by contacting an agent. Before making a decision, though, make sure you compare other companies to Aetna.

Coverages Offered

Life insurance is a voluntary option through your employer who has Aetna as the company’s healthcare. This option allows for dependents to be covered, as well. Though Aetna does not allow individuals to tailor their policies however they’d like, Aetna offers additional coverage options that can supplement the policy purchased through your employer.

– Types of Coverages Offered

Since Aetna offers their life insurance in addition to the health insurance plans with an employer, the types of coverage are offered are basic with options of adding benefits.

  • Accelerated Death Benefit: Allows you and your spouse to be able to receive up to 75 percent of your voluntary life insurance if diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Accidental Death & Personal Loss: If you are killed in an accident, your family will receive a benefit. Such coverage also includes transportation of remains if the accident occurs more than 200 miles from your hometown.
  • Conversion and Portability: If you lose your job or your employer decreases coverage, Aetna allows you to convert your Group Term Life policy into a Whole Life Policy. There is also the option, only if coverage ends, that you can continue with your own Term Life Policy.
  • Funeral Planning and Concierge Services: Aetna Life Insurance offers funeral planning through Everest Funeral Concierge. They help you organize all the necessary documents, explain all your available options, and help relay your wishes during the funeral process with your family.

– Factors That Affect Your Rate

Insurance companies and their policies are far from one-size-fits-all. Many different characteristics can affect your rates. The insurance companies’ goals are to maximize profits and the number of premiums while minimizing and assessing the risks.

– Demographics

Age is the number-one factor when it comes to setting a price for life insurance premiums. The younger you are, the less likely the insurance companies will have to pay out soon.

Gender is another factor that lies outside of our control when it comes to affecting life insurance rates. Women, in general, live longer than men and, as you could guess from the logic above, longer life expectancy equals lower rates.

– Current Health & Family Medical History

Before an insurance company will agree to insure you, a medical exam — where blood pressure, cholesterol, and the heart are looked at and assessed, as well as overall health evaluation — must be performed.

Insurers may also request your full health records before insuring you. This is to check for serious conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure, which would increase your rates.

Some of these medical conditions can be managed or minimized. However, there is a medical history that cannot be overshadowed or diminished. Complicated family medical history (i.e. stroke, cancer) and pre-existing medical conditions of your own often harm life insurance rates.

– High-Risk Occupations

What you do for a living may be a reason you or your employer are interested in a life insurance policy through Aetna. Insurance companies will charge you more the higher your risk is on the clock. Construction and transportation are two industries with a high number of fatal work injuries, and your dream of becoming a pilot will be costly, as well.

– High-Risk Habits

Insurers are very interested in what you do in your everyday life. For example, smoking causes insurers to increase their rates. If you devalue your life by making unhealthy choices, the insurance companies will charge you more for engaging in risky behavior.

Smoking is a major behavior evaluated, but it is not the only one. How you drive and how you have fun are just as important. Do you have one or many instances on your driving record relating to speeding, reckless driving, or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol?

Whatever insurance company you go with, they will be looking at it and charging you accordingly. The adrenaline junkies out there may be charged a high premium because they choose high-risk activities, like skydiving or racing cars.

How much weight each factor holds varies from company to company. This is why getting quotes is so important when it comes to maximizing your policy and your dollar.

– Veteran or Active Military Status

During active military service, there is a low-cost option called the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance where you are automatically enrolled under the maximum coverage if you qualify. You may deny or change the coverage, but it is available to all military members.

What happens when you are no longer active duty? Veterans who had an SGLI policy are eligible to switch to Veterans’ Group Life Insurance. A plus side to this that no proof of good health is necessary. There is, however, a maximum of $400,000-worth of coverage.

– Aetna’s Programs

Aetna has a program called Aetna Life Essentials™, which is available to those who have group life insurance. It is a supplemental resource program that provides benefits during life as well as the end-of-life benefits.

It is divided into four categories of offers that are part of this program.

  • Financial: Financial payout, financial counseling, and advice
  • Legal: Living wills, health care directives, durable financial power of attorney forms, basic will preparation and identity theft action kit
  • Emotional: End-of-life information, bereavement counseling for caregivers and immediate family members
  • Physical: Discount wellness programs, medical care advocacy services

Aetna, of course, offers more programs related to healthcare, the main type of insurance they deal with. For example, there is Attain by Aetna™, an app used in collaboration with an Apple Watch® that helps personalize your health and gain rewards.

Canceling Your Policy

Due to Aetna only offering group life insurance through an employer, you can only cancel your plan during “open enrollment,” which is usually in the fall. If you lose your job, your plan will also be canceled.

As an employer, cutting down on your policy is also available, but only during the open enrollment period. There are special circumstances that would have to be considered if you wished to change your policy mid-year.

How to Make a Claim

It can be difficult to find out how to make a claim with Aetna online unless you have an account and your account information handy. You must be logged in to access a claim form.

The other option for making a claim is that you can call the number listed on your ID card. Your local agent will be able to walk you through all the necessary steps to file your claim.

If your claim is denied, there is an appeal process. The process is outlined for you once you receive your denial of claim paperwork.

How to Get a Quote Online

The cost of life insurance through Aetna is included in the price of group healthcare. Below, you will see the various ways to obtain a quote from Aetna. For individuals looking for life insurance, you are unable to buy individual life insurance policies but can be eligible to buy other types of insurance policies from Aetna or CVS Health.

How to Obtain a Quote from Aetna

Design of Website/App

The website Aetna uses revolves completely around healthcare. It is difficult to find information on life insurance because it is only offered as group life insurance, usually as a supplement to group healthcare. Also, there are several dead-end links, especially regarding life insurance.

Aetna has several apps created under the Aetna Life Insurance Company name. All of these have only two or three stars. Many people are not impressed with how difficult it can be to access anything related to their plan.

There is also an app for Attain, which connects to the policyholder’s or their employees’ Apple Watch®. Unfortunately, there is no Android option, thus excluding many people from benefitting from such an app.

Pros & Cons

Aetna is not available for everyone, but they do offer great bundling services for employers.

– Pros

  • With Aetna, your life insurance is bundled with your healthcare.
  • You can also add additional coverage options to your plan.
  • Your employer has to pay at least 50 percent of the plan.
  • Aetna provides some of the least expensive policies for Group Term Life Insurance

– Cons

  • It is extremely difficult to find information about life insurance unless you have direct access to your plan.
  • Life insurance through Aetna is only available through an employer. There are no individual life insurance plans unless you are converting from Group Term Life.
  • Group insurance policies only allow changes to plans once a year.

The Bottom Line

Life insurance can often be expensive and it can be tedious to try and find the right plan for you. At Aetna, employers can contour their health and life insurance to the size of their company.

For individuals, this allows for the opportunity to pay for cheaper life insurance through their employer. Though employers are the only ones who can buy group life insurance, Aetna allows individuals to add or cancel coverage during “open enrollment.”

If one loses their job, Aetna gives the option of converting your plan into an individual term life insurance policy.

Aetna FAQs

#1 – How do I obtain a group policy for my business?

Obtaining a policy through Aetna can be a long process. Several steps need to take place at least two months before you want your plan to go into effect. These steps are tailored by your state and the size of the company, so you must contact a local Aetna sales office.

#2 – Can a group downgrade to a less expensive product at a time other than its normal renewal date?

Plan revisions are usually on the renewal date or within 31 days after. Midyear plan revisions may be considered but require Financial Underwriting approval.

#3 – What percentage of premium does the employer have to contribute?

Aetna requires the employer to pay at least 50 percent of the total cost of the plan, or 75 percent for employee-only coverage. Some of these guidelines are going to vary by state and business size.

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