It’s mid-November and this is a super busy time during Open Enrollment. Normally, I wouldn’t take the time to write a blog post, but I need to answer some questions about Harken Health. This is my attempt to offer a review of sorts — a fair assessment of this new carrier.
Harken Health is an independently operated affiliate of United Healthcare. Currently, they are offering coverage on the Exchange (the Marketplace) and off the Exchange in Chicago and Atlanta. They are also offering group plans. In Atlanta, they have new facilities in six counties: Cherokee, Cobb, Fulton, Forsyth, Gwinnett, and DeKalb.
I just found out about Harken Health last month and have done quite a bit of research. As an independent agent / advisor, I want to help my clients make the best decision and it is my job to know ALL the options!
So, here are the Pros and Cons…
- They are financially backed by United Healthcare (UHC).
- They use UHC’s National Choice-Plus PPO network.
- Free primary care visits at one of Harken’s “Centers of Primary Care”.
- They offer “health coaches” and a health partnership based on relationships and caring (Harken means “to hear”).
- There is no set time limit for visits with their PCPs; they say the appointment will last as long as needed.
- Relatively low premiums
- Well designed plans; No coinsurance after deductible if staying in the Preferred or General networks.
- Three Network Tiers — similar to Kaiser Permanente’s Multi-Choice plans.
- Limited PCPs: Only 10 Harken Health Primary Care Providers show up doing a search online (the online search is not available now). Not a good sign.
- Less than 30% of Specialists in the Preferred network are listed as “Accepting New Patients”. The rest of the providers are listed as “Not accepting new patients” or there is no indication either way.
- When I discovered the issue with the unavailable specialists, I was told that the provider list was inaccurate and outdated (on Nov 9), and would be soon updated.
- Harken Health says this health plan is primarily geared towards people who want to benefit from their Centers of Primary Care and use them instead of their existing PCPs (This can be a pro or a con).
- Unlike Kaiser Permanente, they are unknown and unproven at this point.
- Their Centers are new, so it is not known if they can handle thousands of new patients. Again, they haven’t been tested yet.
- If you don’t use the Preferred network, the deductible is doubled.
- Unlike most PPO plans, there is no out of pocket maximum for out-of-network charges.
I like the folks at Harken Health and I also like the healthcare model that focuses on doctor/patient relationships and prevention. I think the plans are priced competitively and well designed. For people who like having a co-pay for visiting specialists, this might not be the best deal. All specialist visits are applied to the deductible.
My biggest concern is that we’re well into open enrollment and there still isn’t a way to know with certainty which providers are in their Preferred network.
The folks at Harken tell me they are diligently working to resolve this issue. I believe them. They want their online provider look-up tool to be accurate. As of today, November 14, 2015, it’s not working. This is the message they give on their website: Our Doctor / Places search is currently under construction to make sure we are providing the most accurate data possible. We know the network status of your doctor / facility is an important factor in deciding on a health insurance plan, so please use the following directories to see our In-Network doctors, facilities, and covered medications.
I’m glad to see a new health insurance carrier in the Atlanta market. I believe Harken Health will work things out with their provider networks. Until that time, I can only recommend them to those who don’t mind the risk and possible turbulence of working with a new insurance company. To check out all the carriers available in Georgia, click here.
We’re available to help you make the best decision for your health insurance in 2016.
Peachtree Insurance Advisors 678-236-1600 Greg Sanders