Harken Health pulls out of ACA exchanges

Harken Health clinic

Harken Health, the primary care-focused UnitedHealth subsidiary, has become the latest company to pull out of the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

Harken also replaced its CEO, Tom Vanderheyden, Bloomberg reports. The new CEO is Stevan Garcia. While it will no longer offer ACA exchange plans in Georgia and Chicago, the company will continue to offer non-exchange individual plans in those markets. 

Harken previously canceled its plans to expand into South Florida markets.

Experts had been watching Harken closely, as it was slated to remain on the exchanges even as United pulled out of all but a handful of markets. Other insurers, including Aetna, Humana, some Blue Cross Blue Shield plans and the startup Oscar, also dialed back their exchange offerings.

Harken touts a unique business model of pairing insurance plans with the “relationship-based” primary care it offers patients at its clinics. It also pays doctors salaries rather than the fees tied to the number of patients seen or tests ordered.

“We started from the beginning to develop a new experience for people that we thought people might love,” Krista Nelson, co-founder and vice president of strategy for Harken, previously told FierceHealthPayer. “And it started with primary care.”

Despite its exit from the public exchanges, the company hasn’t given up on that business model.

“We remain committed to our innovative model of insurance paired with access to relationship-based care and we look forward to continuing to offer plans to individuals and employers who purchase coverage outside of the exchange,” Harken said in a statement emailed to Bloomberg.