Company Overview Visit aetna.com website
Aetna is a health insurance company founded in 1853 by Philadelphia entrepreneur, H.J. Leahey.
Since then, the company has been bought and sold several times and currently operates as a subsidiary of CVS Health.
In 1853, a group of Quakers established the Aetna Insurance Company to provide fire insurance for homes that were mainly used as shops or doctors' offices. These types of buildings had previously been difficult to insure due to their higher risk for being destroyed by flame because they held so much flammable inventory. Although it began as a small operation, Aetna continued to grow throughout the following decades after its formation. In 1863, its headquarters moved from Philadelphia to Hartford – an area that had become a major industrial center in the mid-1800s.
The company's name is Latin for "Everlasting" or "Perpetual." Aetna Insurance Company changed its name to Aetna Life Insurance Company in 1864, and eventually became known as simply Aetna Incorporated. In the late 1800s, the life insurance industry shifted focus from insuring lives to protecting health, so Aetna expanded its services to include medical insurance.
In 1996, CVS Corporation bought all outstanding shares of stock of Aetna for $120 billion - making it their largest acquisition at the time.