Aetna Health Insurance
Aetna has been in business since 1890, and it has found a number of ways to remain relevant in the modern age. While not the best in a lot of areas, the company offers a number of important features that make them it desirable for the average consumer, capable of meeting a lot of major needs while also being flexible enough to address specific issues that the customer might have.
Plans and Prices
Perhaps the best feature of Aetna is that they are on the lower end of the pricing scale for health insurance and have a wide variety of plans available. While not every plan will meet every need, at the very least there are plenty to choose from that balance price with service. Even the cheapest plans are still solid and capable of meeting the requirements of the average person. About the only place where this falls short is in the plans for people over 55. There aren't a whole lot to choose from, and they tend to be on the pricier side. While this is understandable in the sense that older people generally have more health problems, those that don't need as much coverage should have more options.
Much like the over 55 plans above, this is a bit of a mixed bag. There are some wonderful features that help the customer to better get quotes and find out what kind of plans that they are eligible for, but they are also highly limited and designed to encourage the use of the self-service features. For example, the Aetna website is very difficult to navigate. It isn't very intuitive, and the contact information is buried beneath a number of different links to encourage customers to use the FAQ before trying to call. While this keeps overhead down at the company and provides for lower prices, it also makes it more frustrating for customers to get their questions answered, especially when the FAQ doesn't have the answer and they still have to find the contact phone number. Similarly, there is a online chat feature which is really helpful with well-trained people that can help you if you need it. However, the chat feature isn't for current customers,; it's for people shopping for insurance and looking for quotes. Those with technical troubles are relegated to searching for the contact phone number instead. Not only is this difficult, it's also really bad optics that imply the company is more concerned with selling insurance than they are in serving the people who have it.
Getting quotes online, though occasionally glitchy, is still easy. The Aetna website makes it simple to find out how to get a quote and, as mentioned, there is a live chat feature that makes it easy to talk to somebody about the various plans available and get a better idea of the kind of plan that would be best for you. There is also a comparison grid that makes it easy to look at the various plans available and figure out which one is going to be best for your particular situation. It's simple to choose which plans look the most interesting and see which of the available features you have with each option. The resulting grid is easy to read and decide between the available options.
There are a number of features that Aetna offers that set it apart from other insurance companies. If there was something that defined it as an insurance carrier, it would be its supplemental insurance. The main plans are not bad and certainly competitive, but Aetna's real benefit is in the supplemental insurance plans it sells. For example, it's possible to get a supplement for hospital visits that will cover that sort of care without having to also buy a larger main plan that covers needs that you don't have. Similarly, their critical care plans are excellent at addressing the needs of people who are frequently experiencing emergencies, and their home care plans are great for those that need constant medical attention in their house, such as those on respirators or that get home dialysis. Aetna also offers a number of international plans to cover medical emergencies in other countries whether from travel or long term trips. Even in countries with socialized systems of medicine, having health insurance can open up options that you might not otherwise have. About the only place where Aetna doesn't really hold up is its lack of short term plans for people that are between jobs, just out of college, have lost their insurance recently, or just need to cover a gap for a limited period. While it would be nice if it provided this option, it is fairly uncommon in general and not a particular failing of the company so much as of the industry that doesn't make this more standard. In any event, their long-term plans are still very affordable and great for people who don't have other options available to them, both in general and through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace.
Verdict - Great
Aetna is not perfect by any means. The company seems to be focused on getting new customers and getting service may sometimes be difficult. That being said, it does have an incredibly wide variety of high quality plans available. Aetna is priced for most average budgets and provides a lot of fantastic care. It's very simple to compare the various plans that you might be interested in on its website and the live chat feature makes it easy to talk to a person so you can find what works best. Their supplementary plans are even better than their main ones, giving an almost a la carte feel to coverage and making it much easier to customize your plan to meet your particular needs. Aetna may not be the company for everybody, but for those with particular health needs, it is a solid option.