Supplier diversity FAQs

How do I do business with Aetna?
In order to be considered for business with Aetna, you must submit an online registration form. The registration process is free and requires some general vendor information (that is, product/service supplying, contact information, tax ID information, etc). If your company is a small business, minority-, women-, or LGBT- certified supplier, and holds valid certifications/registrations you may qualify for our Supplier Diversity Program.

How do I become a part of the Supplier Diversity Program?

Follow these two steps:

1. Ensure your company is certified/registered as a minority-owned, woman-owned, LGBT-owned and/or small business supplier.

You can be registered through any of the following approved third-party organizations. All other registrations/certifications will be reviewed and evaluated by the Supplier Diversity Team.

  • National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)
  • Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
  • National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)
  • Small Business Administration (SBA)
  • Approved State, City, Local Government Municipalities

2. Finally, fill out the online registration form.

How do I submit copies of my certification?
Electronic copies of your third-party certification can be attached to the registration form, through the Frictionless System.

Does registering with the Supplier Diversity Program ensure that Aetna will do business with me?
No, the Supplier Diversity Program serves as a liaison between diverse suppliers and Aetna purchasers. After a company has registered with our program, their information is made available to Aetna purchasers. Purchasers can review the supplier’s information and determine any opportunities. Supplier registration does not guarantee business.

What are the benefits of joining the Aetna Supplier Diversity Program?

Suppliers have multiple benefits of joining our Supplier Diversity Program, including:

  • An opportunity to diversify the marketplace
  • Opportunities to strategically plan and offer competitively priced products and services
  • Chance to become a core part of the improved quality offered to customers
  • Capacity to achieve profitable growth and become an industry leader

I’m not an MBE, WBE, SBE, or LGBT certified supplier. Can I still be a part of the Aetna Supplier Diversity Program?
Yes. Our Second Tier/Subcontracting Program provides opportunities for all of our suppliers. We ask majority suppliers over an established threshold to outline their spend goals with MBE, WBE, SBE, and LGBT suppliers and their plans to achieve these targets. The Subcontracting Program involves direct second-tier and indirect second-tier purchases with diverse suppliers. Please see our page on the Second Tier/Subcontracting Program for more information.

Do you have a Supplier Diversity policy?
Yes. In addition, Aetna Procurement provides purchasers with the resources to find MBE, WBE, LGBT and small business suppliers. Employees have access to the following resources for the purpose of identifying/validating diverse suppliers:

  • Use our Frictionless supplier registration database to identify diverse and nondiverse suppliers interested in doing business.
  • Employees can engage Supplier Diversity to find minority-owned, women-owned, LGBT-owned and/or small business suppliers that fit their various needs.
  • Procurement Sourcing Agents have access to the CVM solutions database for identification and validation of diverse suppliers.

What do Aetna purchasers consider when determining which suppliers they wish to use?
In general, because of the size and scope of our business, Aetna purchasers look for diverse suppliers with the following credentials:

  • Experience in the health care industry
  • National presence
  • Third-party certification as a minority-owned, woman-owned, LGBT-owned business
  • Small business classification through the Small Business Administration

What are five ways to create business opportunities with Fortune 500 companies?

1. Be patient. It can be a long process.

2. Be prepared. Fortune 500 companies have high expectations. Suppliers (diverse or otherwise) typically do not get second chances.

3. Be targeted in your approach. Do your research and learn about the company you are pursuing.

4. Be focused on your strengths. Getting business outside of your core competencies does not guarantee your business will grow with a Fortune 500 company. In fact, failure could jeopardize future relationships.

5. Be in touch — but not too in touch when pursuing business opportunities. Ask when follow-up would be appropriate.

What are five ways to leverage your certification?
Certification is a tool. As a stand-alone, it will not guarantee success or more business. However, certification combined with excellent products and services can give you an advantage and open doors. Certification provides more than a list of corporate contacts, so be prepared to take full advantage of your membership.

1. Attend all events, both large and small.

2. Network with everyone, both corporations and diverse suppliers.

3. Volunteer your time and expertise; getting involved creates additional exposure.

4. Leverage the services your certification organization offers, including: financing, educations and mentoring opportunities.

5. Promote the value of the organization to other companies and diverse suppliers.

Is Supplier Diversity responsible for making purchasing decisions?

While Supplier Diversity engages consultants and other diverse suppliers to help with various projects for our program, we are not responsible for diverse supplier purchasing decisions across the organization. Rather, Supplier Diversity serves as a liaison between diverse suppliers and Aetna purchasers. Our role is to facilitate introductions between suppliers and purchasers in hopes that the more aware our purchasers are of the valuable services diverse suppliers provide, the more likely they are to use them.

How does Aetna measure their Supplier Diversity success?
Supplier Diversity success is largely based on the Supplier Diversity Scorecard. Each year we establish both a Supplier Diversity target for the overall organization as well as individual targets for each of the business areas. At the end of a quarter we distribute a report that measures where each business area is in relation to their target and where the overall organization is in relation to our corporate goal.

What is 2nd tier reporting?

We are dedicated to increasing the participation of diverse suppliers in our purchasing decisions and contractual business agreements. We are also committed to providing additional opportunities for diverse suppliers by requiring our prime suppliers to participate in our 2nd tier subcontracting program. Subcontracting opportunities can be achieved in two ways.

Direct: purchases that directly support our business needs. These purchases must be able to be directly traced back to a specific contract or purchase order with a diverse supplier.

Example: Print Company, a supplier to Aetna, purchases all of its paper through a diverse paper supplier. The expense of this paper is considered a direct 2nd tier purchase.

Indirect: purchases that support a supplier’s overall business strategy. These purchases are not made specifically in support of our business. We use an NMSDC approved calculation to get this amount.

Example: Our supplier, Allstar Event Planning, annually spends $100 million with diverse suppliers. Aetna represents 1% of Allstar’s business expense. The 2nd tier spend with Allstar event planning would be ($100 million X 1%) $1 million. Under the indirect method, spend cannot be traced back to a specific supplier directly in support of our business.

What should I do if I haven’t heard back from anyone?

Please allow up to four weeks for us to respond to your request. If you do not hear from someone within a month of your initial outreach, please contact Supplier Diversity at for a status.

Does Aetna participate in any tradeshows or national conferences with the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council or other national organizations?
Yes, each year we attend and exhibit at the following conferences:

  • National Minority Supplier Development Council Conference and Business Opportunity Fair
  • Women’s Business Enterprise National Council Women in Business Conference and Business Fair
  • National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Conference and Business Fair
  • Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council Business Opportunity Expo

We encourage you to visit our booth and speak with one of our representatives.

If I am a prime supplier interested in submitting a 2nd tier report, who should I contact?
Any prime supplier interested in participating in our 2nd tier program should send an email to for more information.

Does Aetna post bids for upcoming business?

No, we do not post upcoming bids externally. Suppliers can learn about upcoming bids of potential opportunities through Procurement Sourcing Agents specializing in their commodity.

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