UHC Launches a Smaller, ‘very Very Different’ Insurer

Mar 14, 2016

  1. Brian Anderson
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    Brian Anderson Executive Editor

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    UHC has launched an anti-behemoth sub-brand focused on individual and small group coverage – Harken Health – with unlimited primary care. From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

    For the first time, individual shoppers are buying coverage from Harken Health, a company with about 100 employees based at an office on the UnitedHealthcare corporate campus in Minnetonka.

    Harken is being run as an independent entity, executives said, with a distinct approach to selling coverage. Subscribers receive unlimited access to primary care, without copays, if they visit a health center owned by Harken Health…

    Harken Health is on the federal government’s HealthCare.gov exchange for Atlanta and Chicago, where UnitedHealthcare plans are offered to the same consumers.

    Harken sells a “bronze” quality plan with a $6,850 deductible to a 40-year-old in Chicago for $242 per month. UnitedHealthcare offers slightly lower deductibles and monthly costs of $255 and $269.

    The strategy helps highlight unique aspects of Harken Health coverage outside the UnitedHealthcare brand, said Sheryl Skolnick, an analyst with Mizuho Securities USA. Take a tour of the Harken Health website, she pointed out, and the feel is decidedly “anti-corporate.”

    Rather than charge a premium, Harken Health says it collects a “membership fee.” The company’s clinics are called “health centers.” Beyond not charging copays at the centers, there’s also no “coinsurance” — a form of cost-sharing that Vanderheyden says just adds complexity.

    By simplifying payment, the centers don’t have to bother with all the paperwork and hassle to get paid by insurers, Vanderheyden said.


    The article goes on to say Harken Health is eyeing “meaningful expansion” beyond Chicago and Atlanta this year. It is also being compared to Oscar and startup Zoom+ out of Portland. Thoughts on this strategy?

    UnitedHealthcare launches a smaller, 'very, very different' insurer - StarTribune.com
     
  2. steven2244
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    steven2244 Expert

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    Here in Chicago Harken came on strong near the end of OE when other carriers' PPO's were having trouble. Good prices and UHC's big network were a huge draw

    I gave them about 50 cases, not one complaint yet
     
  3. kgmom219
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    kgmom219 What's Next?

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    Is it available On and Off Exchange?

    Could the members use the UHC Choice/Navigate Network for hospitals?

    What was the pricing compared to BCBS? (I get that its cheaper than UHC. I'm wondering what it looked like against the competition)
     
    kgmom219, Apr 11, 2016
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  4. steven2244
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    steven2244 Expert

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    On Exch only during SEP - can't even quote on UHC

    You can quote On Exch here: https://www.healthcare.gov/see-plans/

    Best 'total cost' in IL; annual prem + OOPM

    Yes you get UHC's biggest national PPO

    My guess is UHC is accepting they may lose $ to get it off the ground
     
  5. kgmom219
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    kgmom219 What's Next?

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    If it gives me a PPO w/copay option in Dallas, that would be better than anything we have now.

    Assuming UHC doesn't pull their commission switch 2 weeks into OEP again.....

    Thanks for the response!
     
    kgmom219, Apr 11, 2016
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  6. steven2244
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    steven2244 Expert

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    That's the $60,000 question - for all carriers and all of us!

    We'll see

    I'm refocusing on Group...
     
  7. AllenChicago
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    AllenChicago Guru

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    Has HARKEN paid you any 2016 commissions, Steven? If so, are they paid through UHC's system? Nothing, zip, $0 here.
     
  8. pbbaseball
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    pbbaseball Guru

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    Did you do the harken contract? It's separate from uhc gric
     
  9. AllenChicago
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    AllenChicago Guru

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    no, not an actual paper contract. All we had to do was listen to the harken health webinar and then contact uhc and give them a secret passphrase. The UHC associate then certified us.
    thank you for getting it letting me know. I will get in touch with UHC again. I'll try to.
     
  10. steven2244
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    steven2244 Expert

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    I got pd from Harken for Jan so far

    As for contracting, I called UHC's broker line (I've been contracted with active biz with them for years) - the gal added Harken with a click. Took effect the next day after nightly data dump
     
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