Aetna Life Insurance Review

Group life insurance with living benefits and a potential portability feature

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Aetna

Aetna

overall rating
3.3

Our Take

Aetna only offers group life insurance coverage through employers, so individuals will not be able to get a quote or apply for a policy online. Aetna writes term policies with an appealing set of living benefits along with conversion and portability features. While pricing information isn’t available online, Aetna could be a good option if you can get a low rate through your employer. 

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • A (excellent) financial strength rating from AM Best

  • Living benefits, including an accelerated death benefit

  • Whole life conversion option if you leave your employer

Cons
  • No online quotes

  • No online claims—beneficiaries must call during business hours

  • Higher than expected number of complaints with the NAIC

Key Takeaways
  • Aetna only offers employer-sponsored life insurance coverage and pricing and plan details vary. Individuals can’t purchase life insurance coverage from Aetna.
  • Customer service reviews for Aetna life insurance on third-party websites tend to be negative, and the company received a higher than expected number of complaints with the NAIC given its size. 
  • The Aetna Life Essentials package gives members access to financial and legal resources along with counseling services and healthcare/fitness discounts. 
Important

Aetna doesn’t offer life insurance policies for individual sale. If you need to purchase an individual policy, check out the Best Life Insurance Providers of 2021.

Specifications
  • Year Founded 1853
  • Kinds of Plans Term
  • Number of Plans 1
  • Payment Options Monthly
  • Official Website https://www.aetna.com/index.html

Introduction


Aetna has been in business for more than 160 years. The company specializes in health insurance coverage but also offers employer-sponsored life insurance plans. 

Online information about the product is very limited, since plan details vary by employer, and individuals can’t get a quote or purchase a policy online. However, we looked into the details provided about Aetna’s policy offerings, riders, financial stability, customer satisfaction, online tools, and more to help you compare the life insurance policy options offered by Aetna with plans from competing life insurance providers. 

Company Overview

Aetna was founded in 1853 in Hartford, Connecticut, and the company became a subsidiary of CVS Health in 2018. Specializing in health insurance coverage, Aetna makes up a small share of the life insurance market (less than 0.5% of premiums in the U.S.). 

Policies are only available through employers and are not for individual sale so individual applicants can’t get quotes or policy details online. Beneficiaries will need to call an agent to file a claim since Aetna lacks online tools for policy management. 

Available Plans

Aetna provides very little information about its life insurance product on the company website as plan details can vary by employer. Aetna only offers one type of life insurance, and you’ll need to ask your employer about the terms and face value amounts available.

Term

Term life insurance is designed to protect your family financially if you pass away before your debts and other obligations are taken care of. Aetna doesn’t provide information about the term lengths or policy amounts available on the company website but some plans come with a portability feature, which allows you to keep the coverage even if you change employers or retire. If that’s not available with your plan, you can also elect to convert your coverage to an individual whole life insurance company if you leave your place of work. 

Depending on your employer, you may be able to purchase term coverage for your spouse and dependents as well.

Available Riders

Aetna offers a few attractive riders, but they may not be available with every employer’s group plan. Riders are add-ons that help policyholders customize their coverage. Ask your employer whether the following riders are included with your policy or if they are available at an extra cost.

Accelerated Death Benefit

Policyholders who become severely or terminally ill during the term of their policy can get access to a portion of the death benefit in advance. This can help pay for medical bills and care services or help with final preparations. 

Waiver of Premium

This rider allows you to extend your coverage and stop paying premiums should you become totally and permanently disabled.

Living Benefits Package

The Aetna Life Essentials program comes with the following resources and services for policyholders during their term:

  • Financial advice from JPMorgan Chase
  • Legal services, such as living wills and health directives
  • Discounts on fitness, vision, hearing, and other health services
  • Bereavement and grief counseling sessions for you and your family members
  • A dedicated social worker
  • A suite of online resources
Tip

Ask an Aetna representative or someone from your HR department to provide details about the group policy and which riders are included.

Customer Service: Limited Options

For non-members, Aetna can be contacted by phone between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. ET on weekdays at 1-800-US-AETNA. There’s also a public online form and members can log inits to access an email option as well. 

However, there’s no live chat, which is standard for most life insurance companies. And if your beneficiaries need to file a claim, they won’t be able to do so online. They’ll need to call 1-800-523-5065 on weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. ET. Most life insurance claims are paid within 10 to 15 business days. 

Customer Satisfaction: Negative Reviews and Limited Data

Because Aetna only provides group life insurance policies, the company isn’t ranked in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study. Aetna had only five total complaints with the NAIC in 2020, but since the company makes up such a small share of the market, the complaint index was 5.56. The industry average index is 1.00. 

Given Aetna’s size, the company had more complaints than expected. In addition, on third-party customer service review websites, Aetna’s reviews were mostly negative. However, almost all reviews were related to Aetna’s health insurance line. Customer reviews regarding Aetna’s group life insurance product are difficult to find. 

Financial Strength: A (Excellent)

Aetna has an A (excellent) financial strength rating from AM Best. A strong grade from AM Best is important because it indicates that a company is expected to remain financially stable far into the future and can reliably pay claims. While Aetna didn’t receive the best possible rating from AM Best, the company is still reliable from a financial stability perspective. 

Cancellation Policy: 60 Days

By law, life insurance companies must provide a 10-day free look period (or longer, depending on your state), and most companies allow you to cancel within 30 days and be reimbursed for your paid premiums. With Aetna, if you cancel or terminate your policy within 60 days of the initial request for coverage, your premiums will be credited. 

Price of Aetna Life Insurance: Ask Your Employer

Aetna doesn’t report any pricing information on the company website nor is there an online quote tool that individuals can use to check their rate. Your employer-sponsored life insurance plan may be offered to you as a benefit, and you may also be able to add supplemental coverage at an additional cost. Ask your employer about the cost to participate in your company’s plan.

How Aetna Compares to Other Life Insurance

If your employer offers an Aetna group life insurance plan, you might be able to get a lower rate than if you purchased life insurance individually. Aetna may also offer portability and conversion features which are nice to have if you leave your employer. However, Aetna doesn’t stand up to the competition when it comes to customer satisfaction. 

Here’s how Aetna compares to two other life insurance companies. 

Aetna Life Insurance vs. Unum Life Insurance Review

Aetna and Unum both offer employer-provided life insurance group plans and don’t sell individual life insurance policies. They both have an A (excellent) financial strength rating from AM Best and offer some attractive riders, but there are a few key differences between them:

  • Unum offers more customer service options and online claims filing. Unum also only had one complaint filed with the NAIC in 2020, although customer service reviews on third-party websites are generally negative, similar to Aetna. 
  • Unum provides more information about its policies to the public. It offers both term coverage in multiples of your salary or whole life insurance, which is more expensive but builds cash value with a guaranteed 4.5% return. 
  • Aetna offers a robust living benefits package with all policies while Unum does not. 

Your options will likely be limited by whichever provider your employer chooses. Unum is a better option for employees who would choose whole life insurance coverage while Aetna is better for people who want term coverage and access to living benefits. 

Read our full Unum Life Insurance review. 

Aetna Life Insurance vs. Haven Life Insurance Review

If Aetna doesn’t meet your needs, you may choose to purchase life insurance coverage individually. Thus, we’ve chosen to compare Aetna with Haven, which makes it easy for customers to get quotes, purchase coverage, and manage their policies online. There are many differences between these two companies, but these are some of the most important distinctions:

  • Haven is owned and backed by MassMutual, which has an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best and was rated above average in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study. The company also had a fewer than expected number of complaints with the NAIC given its size, and customer service reviews are mostly positive.
  • Haven offers a customizable term policy that can be purchased entirely online and doesn’t require a medical exam. 
  • Haven doesn’t sell whole life policies and doesn’t offer conversion options, while Aetna allows group policyholders to convert their term coverage to an individual whole life policy. 

While both companies are reputable, Haven wins in terms of financial strength, customer satisfaction, and the availability of online tools. Even if you can get a low rate from your employer-provided life insurance plan through Aetna, you may want to get a quote from Haven or another individual provider as well. 

Final Verdict

Aetna could be a great option for a low premium if your employer offers it. However, details about Aetna’s policies aren’t readily available online. You should get the details from your company’s HR department and compare your options and costs with those of other life insurance providers. 

Methodology

All of our reviews of life insurance companies are based on extensive research and analysis of each company's offerings, customer service, financial stability, cost, and more. For each company, we compared the life insurance products offered, as well as available features, and reported customer experiences. Visit our life insurance review methodology for the full breakdown of what we evaluated for over two dozen companies.