Skip to main content

Aetna Smart Compare™ designation

We’re recognizing physicians who use health care resources effectively, so your patients can make smart choices for their health.

What is Aetna Smart Compare?

What is Aetna Smart Compare?

A health care system that’s more transparent and consumer focused is a better health care system. Part of that is recognizing physicians for clinical quality and effective use of care. With the Aetna Smart Compare designation, which recognizes high-performing physicians and provider groups, we’re helping build a better care experience for everyone.


The goal? We’re giving members more information to help choose the right practice for themselves and their families. So they can get better faster and reach their best health.


Our quality certification


Learn how the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) — an independent, not-for-profit group that accredits health care organizations — reviews our designation programs to meet criteria for their Physician Quality Certification.


NCQA report on Aetna compliance

How we choose physicians and other providers

How we choose physicians and other providers

Aetna Smart Compare is a national designation program that identifies high-performing providers based on industry standard metrics for quality and effectiveness. To earn Aetna Smart Compare designations, providers need to exceed clinical quality and cost-effectiveness measures.


These measures include:


  • Number and types of services performed
  • How often patients return to the hospital
  • Rates of health complications during hospital stays
  • Cost of services

Aetna Smart Compare designations have no bearing on a physician, physician practice or medical group’s contract or how they are reimbursed by Aetna.


In California and Texas, Aetna Smart Compare designations are limited to commercial, self-insured plans. Other members in California and Texas will not see designations in Aetna's

authenticated member portal, and they will not receive designations through other communication channels.


Browse the guides below for a full view of our measurement criteria and how we evaluate physicians and other providers.

Answers to your patients’ questions


If you’d like more details about Aetna Smart Compare or want to share information with your patients, we’ve answered our members’ most frequently asked questions below.



The goal of the Aetna Smart Compare designation is to give our members more information to help them choose a practice for themselves and their families. During provider or procedure searches on our Aetna Health app and Aetna® member website, members simply look for the Quality and Effective Care label as another item to consider when choosing a physician.

We evaluate both primary care and specialists for this program. Please refer to the list above for what is currently supported. The program will be expanding in the future.

The Aetna Smart Compare designation is only a guide to help members choose a physician that’s for them, not the sole basis for selecting their doctor. There is no impact on a member’s plan, whether they seek care from a designated provider or not.

Aetna Smart Compare utilizes quality as a gatekeeper. Physicians and other providers must meet the clinical quality metrics in order to be reviewed for cost effectiveness. Both clinical quality metrics and cost effectiveness measures must be met to receive the Aetna Smart Compare designation. Please note that physicians reviewed for the ASC designation in Medical oncology, were designated using only the quality metrics criteria.

There are three reasons why a physician may not have this designation:

  1. They’re not in a specialty or specialty procedures type that the program is currently designating. 
  2. They couldn’t be evaluated for the designation because of not meeting minimum volume requirements. 
  3. They didn’t meet the criteria to receive the designation.

Your feedback matters

Share your thoughts about Aetna Smart Compare to help us improve your experience.


Legal notices

Aetna is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Aetna group of companies, including Aetna Life Insurance Company and its affiliates (Aetna).

Health benefits and health insurance plans contain exclusions and limitations.

Also of interest: