Aetna Life Insurance Review

Feature-rich and portable group life coverage for you and your dependents

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Aetna

Aetna

Our Take

Though Aetna Life Insurance Company only offers group, employer-sponsored policies, this carrier’s coverage includes a variety of features and optional riders for added protection. Aetna requires employers to pay at least 50% of participating employees’ premiums, so this workplace coverage may be an excellent choice if you’re looking for supplemental life insurance at a lower out-of-pocket cost.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Coverage portability is offered

  • Aetna operates in all 50 states and D.C.

  • Dependent coverage available

  • Employers must pay 50% or more of premiums

  • Long company history

Cons
  • Only available for purchase through an employer

  • Coverage may not be sufficient

  • Policy options and features are limited to employer’s choices

Key Takeaways
  • Aetna was acquired by CVS in 2017; the company’s primary focus is healthcare coverage.
  • Life insurance through Aetna is only provided as workplace coverage, and cannot be purchased individually.
  • Aetna requires employers to cover at least 50% of enrollees’ life insurance costs.
  • Policies are portable and offer whole life conversion options.
Company Overview

Aetna was founded in 1850, selling life insurance as an annuity fund. The company was named after Mt. Aetna, an 11,000-foot volcano in eastern Sicily, which was the most active volcano in Europe at the time.

Today, Aetna offers a variety of products across the U.S., including life, health, dental and vision, pharmacy, Medicaid, and Medicare coverage. The company was recently acquired by CVS in 2017, and ranks forty-third on the Fortune 500 list.

Geographical Restrictions

Aetna life insurance coverage is available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Certain plans and features may be unavailable in certain states, however.

  • Year Founded 1850
  • Kinds of Plans Term, AD&D, whole life, universal life
  • Number of Plans 5
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually
  • Customer Service Email, social media (@aetna on Twitter), or phone at 1-800-US-AETNA (1-800-872-3862, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST)
  • Official Website www.aetna.com
Important

Aetna is not one of our top-rated life insurance companies. You can review our list of the best life insurance companies for what we think are better options.

Pros Explained

  • Coverage portability is offered: In many cases, you will be able to take your policy with you if you leave the company or retire. (Depending on the coverage you have, this may require converting your policy to a permanent option.)
  • Aetna operates in all 50 states and D.C.: Aetna offers insurance coverage in all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C. However, not all products, plans, or features are available in each of those states.
  • Dependent coverage available: Aetna provides dependent coverage for spouses and/or children.
  • Employers must pay 50% or more of premiums: Aetna requires that employers contribute at least 50% of life insurance costs, so you will pay no more than half of your policy’s premiums.
  • Long company history: Founded in 1850, Aetna has been providing trusted insurance coverage for more than 170 years.

Cons Explained

  • Only available for purchase through an employer: Aetna no longer sells individual life insurance policies, so coverage can only be purchased through a participating workplace. 
  • Coverage may not be sufficient: Your employer will determine the coverage limits offered by your Aetna policy (often as a multiple of your salary). Depending on how much life insurance your family needs, this may not be enough coverage.
  • Policy options and features are limited to employer’s choices: Your employer will also choose the policy features, riders, and coverage options available to you. Though Aetna offers a variety of life insurance benefits, they may not all be offered on your policy.

Available Plans

Aetna offers a number of different life insurance plans and coverage. The options available to you will depend on your employer.

Basic Term Life

This policy offers a guaranteed death benefit for a predetermined period of time. Coverage limits vary according to each workplace’s specific term group plan, as do the coverage terms offered.  

Supplemental Term Life

If your employer offers a certain amount of life insurance coverage, supplemental term life can increase your provided death benefit amount. This coverage is temporary (meaning it expires after a certain number of years) and comes at an additional out-of-pocket cost, on top of whatever group coverage your employer provides. However, Aetna supplemental life policies offer portability, so you can take your coverage with you (at an additional expense), even if you leave your employer.

Workplace life insurance coverage often ends if you change jobs, get laid off, fired, or retire; at that point, buying new coverage on your own may come at a high cost due to age or any health concerns. Policy portability can solve this issue, allowing you to keep your coverage intact, no matter where your career takes you.

Dependent Term Life

With dependent term life, employees can opt to purchase term life insurance coverage for their eligible spouse and/or children. This is often at an additional out-of-pocket cost, and the coverage and term limits for dependent term life will vary by employer.

Group Universal Life

If your employer chooses to offer a universal life insurance option, you’ll be able to secure permanent coverage for yourself and your loved ones. This group policy offers portable protection at an out-of-pocket cost, in addition to an optional cash accumulation fund. This cash fund provides tax-advantaged savings with a guaranteed interest rate.

AD&D Ultra

This plan offers life insurance coverage against accidental death and dismemberment, as the name suggests. In addition to that, though, Aetna’s AD&D Ultra plan provides extra benefits such as repatriation of remains (paying to bring your body back to loved ones if you die more than 200 miles from home), education and child care benefits for your dependents, and a supplemental benefit if you die in a car accident while properly wearing a seatbelt.

Available Riders

Life insurance plan riders offer additional coverage and features, which can make your policy an even more beneficial product. These riders often come at an additional expense, though your employer may choose to offer certain features at no charge to you.

Accelerated Death Benefit

If you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, accelerated death benefits offer you early access to life insurance funds. Accelerated withdrawals will be deducted from your policy’s death benefit, but can be used for things like medical care, household bills, or experiences with your loved ones.

Disability Waiver of Premium

If you are permanently and fully disabled, your life insurance coverage may be extended with a disability rider. Additionally, your coverage can continue even though you’re no longer responsible for paying premiums (they will be waived).

Term Conversion

If you leave your employer, retire, or are laid off/fired—or even if your coverage is just reduced—you may be able to keep your coverage intact by converting to an individual whole life policy. This converted policy will be your own financial responsibility, and will likely cost more than employer-sponsored coverage (especially if you previously held a term policy).

Customer Service

You have a few ways of contacting Aetna, if needed. 

Customer service representatives are available by phone from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, seven days a week by calling 1-800-US-AETNA (1-800-872-3862). 

You can also reach out to Aetna through social media. Their Twitter representatives are available (@Aetna and @AetnaHelp) to answer certain questions or listen to your concerns 24/7/

If you need to make changes to your coverage, view policy documents, and more, you can also do so by logging into the member portal.

Complaint Index 

Each year, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) publishes a complaint index to compare carriers’ consumer satisfaction trends. A company with an average number of complaints in a given year would have a score of 1.0. A score below 1.0 means the company received fewer than expected complaints, while a score higher than 1.0 represents more complaints than expected. 

In 2020, Aetna Life Insurance Company was given a complaint index of 5.56, after being adjusted for the company’s overall market share. This means that they received more than five times as many complaints as expected for a company their size.

In 2019, however, the company’s complaint index was only 0.1836 and in 2018, it was 1.079. This indicates that 2020 may have potentially been an “off” year for the company, compared to their usual ratings.

Third-Party Ratings

Aetna holds an A (Excellent) financial strength rating from AM Best, which is the third-highest possible rating. This means that there is a high level of confidence in the company’s stability and solvency, thus they are likely to be around and able to pay out, if and when your loved ones ever need to file a life insurance claim.

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel a life insurance policy at any time. The type of policy you have determines whether or not you will receive anything back after doing so.

In order to cancel a term life policy, you will need to contact the carrier and request a policy termination. Since term insurance does not build up any cash value, your premiums and coverage will simply stop; you will not receive anything for the premiums you’ve already paid.

With whole and universal life policies, however, you may be due a portion of the policy’s cash value. A surrender fee is typically applied to that cash balance in the early years of the policy, though, potentially reducing the amount you’ll actually receive. 

Review the terms of your specific policy as well as your surrender options to determine whether canceling coverage is a good idea, and how much it will cost you in the process.

Price

Aetna does not sell direct life insurance policies, so you won’t be able to obtain a quote online or through a phone agent. The cost of your coverage will depend on your workplace group, what percentage of premiums your employer is willing to cover, and even personal factors such as your age and total coverage amount.

With that said, Aetna does require employers to cover at least 50% of the cost of group coverage for eligible employees. Because of this, your out-of-pocket costs should be notably lower than if you were to buy the same level of coverage on your own.

Competition

Curious how Aetna measures up to other similar life insurance companies? We put this carrier up against Metlife, another trusted company exclusively offering workplace-based coverage.

Both carriers have notable AM Best ratings and only sell policies through employers. However, Metlife boasts a significantly larger percentage of the U.S. market share (with 13.0%) and a much better NAIC complaint index for 2020.

  Aetna Metlife
Market Share 2.4% of the U.S. market First-largest, 13.0% of the US market
Number of Plans 5 10
Dividends for 2020 Not announced Not announced
Service Method Employer-sponsored plans Employer-sponsored plans
AM Best Rating A A+
Complaints Trend 5.56 (Poor) 0.7366 (Great)
Final Verdict

Founded in 1850, Aetna has been a trusted name in life insurance for more than 170 years. The company operates in all 50 states and in Washington, D.C., though not all policy options and features are available everywhere. 

The only way you’ll be able to purchase an Aetna life insurance policy is if your employer enrolls in group plan coverage. If they do, though, Aetna offers a number of beneficial plans with features such as portability, dependent coverage, whole life conversion, and extended AD&D policies. Plus, your employer will be required to cover at least half of your plan’s cost, potentially saving you quite a bit in premiums.

The company was acquired by CVS and primarily offers healthcare coverage across the country. Though Aetna received a higher-than-usual complaint index score in 2020 (compared to years past), it holds an A financial strength rating from AM Best.

Methodology

In reviewing life insurance carriers, we consider a wide range of company details through a comprehensive methodology. This involves comparing their product and plan options, as well as analyzing their reputation through third-party and consumer satisfaction ratings. We also look at things such as pricing, product availability, the ease with which consumers can purchase coverage, and whether the company is a good option for specific applicant groups (such as older individuals or those with health concerns).

Article Sources

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  1. Fortune. "Aetna." Accessed April 24, 2021.

  2. NAIC. "Aetna Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report." Accessed April 24, 2021.