Jessica Levco

Healthcare Marketer and Social Media Specialist

Jessica Levco is an experienced healthcare marketer and social media specialist. She creates must-read content for hospitals, healthcare non-profits and associations. 

Case Study: How Harken Health Sells Insurance to Millennials


I was browsing recently to see what kind of healthcare coverage I could get in Illinois. I've got all the usual suspects vying for my business: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana and Aetna, but a new company caught my eye: Harken Health.


I checked out their website. Immediately, I was impressed by their video on their welcome page that taps right into the perils of healthcare today: doctors who are too busy, patients who wait too long to see their doctors and just the overall sense of confusion/despair/unhappiness with our healthcare system. 

Why does healthcare have to be so hard?  

Harken Health wants to make it easy. 

The inspiration behind Harken Health

Harken Health, which is available in Chicago and Atlanta, is a subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare. In 2014, UnitedHealthcare put together a team of employees to start thinking about healthcare differently. 

Tom Vanderheyden, the leader of the team (and CEO of Harken Health) told the Chicago Tribune the simplicity of Chipotle’s menu inspired him to think of how to design a healthcare plan.

The recipe? Healthcare insurance is so complex. Let's make it easy. 

For starters, members receive free, unlimited primary care visits. Members' copays are limited to prescription drugs. To see a doctor, a member goes to a Harken Health office in their Chicago or Atlanta neighborhood. However, members aren’t just limited to seeing doctors at these offices. For example, a Chicago member has access to UnitedHealthcare’s Chicago network (which includes Northwestern Memorial Hospital, University of Chicago Medicine and Lurie Children’s Hospital) for referrals. 

Why Harken Health appeals to millennials

In Cook County, more than 30 percent of people enrolled in the Affordable Care Act are between the ages of 18 and 34, according to the Tribune. Even though a Harken Health office opened up in Chicago’s Wicker Park (a trendy, hipster-centered neighborhood), Vanderheyden says he expects Harken Health to appeal to anyone looking for a more personal relationship with their doctors — not just millennials. 

That being said, it really is appealing to millennials. Here’s why: 

It functions like a club. Millennials want to feel like they belong (see: SoHo House). The various offices offer cooking classes, coffee and group fitness classes. Who knew that hanging out at your doctor’s office could be fun? 

Connected to social media. Millennials are all about their social networks. One of the big bonuses of Harken Health is that doctors can video chat, text and email patients. In addition, their website is mobile-friendly, uncluttered and filled with subtle CTAs. Their Twitter feed talks directly to customers and their Facebook page is filled with fun, engaging photos.

Jargon-free marketing. Millennials don’t want to be marketed to. They want to be talked to. Check out their simple mission statement: “For far too long, the health care system has valued efficiency over empathy. We believe that caring is the most important part of providing great health care. Our goal is to restore the relationships and connections between people who need care, and those who care for people.”