Aetna vs. Blue Cross Blue Shield: Insurance Compared

  • comments 1
  • views19,420

Difference between Aetna and Blue Cross

In the world of health insurance, few names achieve a renown that stands the test of time. Two such companies are Aetna and Blue Cross, both of which are among the most reputable health insurance providers in the business. While both companies seemingly offer the same basic services–and they do indeed overlap in certain areas–there are actually numerous differences between the two. The most significant of these differences is how both companies provide health insurance services. These and other aspects of both companies are tackled in this comparison article.

Size of Network

One of the main differences between Aetna and Blue Cross’ Blue Shield health insurance program (BCBS) is that the latter is not actually a nationwide company. Instead, BCBS is more like a health insurance provider that is made up of several small independent health insurance firms, all of which pay Blue Cross a licensing fee for the use of the Blue Shield brand. Each BCBS branch scattered throughout the United States is therefore quite different from one another.

Given the structure of Blue Cross, Aetna therefore has the edge in terms of network coverage. While Blue Cross Blue Shield does have a common brand image across the different branches, the nationwide network of Aetna comprised of various healthcare professionals as well as hospitals is a far more expansive one.

Health Plans

In terms of the health insurance plans that they offer, Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield are also quite different. Both companies have comprehensive health insurance packages geared towards individuals as well as groups. One similarity between both companies however is that they both offer more comprehensive medical coverage packages, as opposed to the limited benefit plans offered by many other companies. While such plans do have the advantage of low cost, they simply do not compare to what Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield have to offer in terms of coverage.


Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna are undoubtedly strong health insurance companies with excellent reputations in the industry. In terms of the dependability and coverage of the plans, Aetna does have a slight edge over Blue Cross Blue Shield. Given its established network that spans across the country and comprehensive health insurance comprised of a wide array of plans, Aetna seems to offer a lot more options than Blue Cross Blue Shield. The latter company offers some benefits of its own to be sure, but as it stands, Aetna is still several notches ahead.

Similarities and Differences:


  • Has a nationwide network of various healthcare professionals and hospitals
  • Offers more comprehensive medical coverage packages as opposed to limited benefit plans
  • Has a wide array of health insurance plans
  • Offers a lot more options than Blue Cross Blue Shield

Blue Cross

  • Not actually a nationwide company
  • A health insurance provider that is made up of several small independent health insurance firms
  • Each BCBS branch scattered is different from one another


comments 1 Comments

  • Anon User . 3+ yrs. ago

It provides a lot of benefits from the other organizations.

Post a Comment
  • Name*
  • Email*