Meet Ben

Updated:
November 2, 2021

Meet Ben, a direct primary care physician who works at Decent.

Decent’s mission is affordable health care for all. The foundation of its plans are direct primary care (DPC) practices, as the model re-humanizes, simplifies, and enhances this core element of any health plan. With the DPC movement gaining ground nationally and Decent growing its footprint as well, the time has come to further incorporate this foundational element on the Decent team. Meet Dr. Ben Aiken, a passionate, entrepreneurial, and grounded DPC physician seeking to transform healthcare to work better for everyone.

What is Ben’s role at Decent?

Ben’s role at Decent is to lead our medical efforts as VP of Medical Affairs, from patient and provider experience to network strategy and development to health plan design and performance. In addition, he will be Decent’s public voice on healthcare and how we are transforming it.

What is Ben’s background?

Ben is a family physician interested in the re-emergence of primary care and societal wellness through clinic and system-level innovation and design. He is founder of Lantern Health, a direct primary care practice based in Asheville, NC, where he still delivers accessible, affordable, and personalized care with a focus on an authentic experience designed to help clients achieve optimal health. He is also co-founder of 3x5 Health, which is creating and supporting a national collective of local, independent direct primary care practices by connecting them to employers seeking to invest in the health and wellbeing of their employees, businesses, and communities. He previously led the design and development of a direct primary care practice within the fully integrated health system, Mission Health, as well as a new clinic using a low-overhead, high-technology as a residency faculty member. He has a particular interest in lifestyle medicine and the role of food, movement, and habit in health and wellbeing, and he completed both medical and public health school at UNC Chapel Hill.

Why Ben was motivated to join Decent?

People. Ethos. Opportunity. Ben loves working with passionate, visionary people that share a mission of being the change they want to see in the world. When you combine that with the opportunity to transform and re-humanize health insurance with primary care and patient experience as the foundation, transparency, and realigned incentives, the draw was clear. This is Decent, and Ben is in.

Why is improving healthcare important to Ben?

Ben believes that health care is a human right and one of the core elements of a thriving, equitable society. He first saw this through his grandfather Bill, a general practice physician in southeast Tennessee where grew up. Now in his practice as a direct primary care physician, he sees this reality daily in trying to help people seek optimal health and respond to the unexpected. 

Yet, our healthcare system is known for complexity and is structured such that many in our communities throughout the country are not afforded this right. Misaligned incentives and lack of transparency lead to excess, waste, and a seemingly insurmountable problem with a huge number of middlepeople extracting immense wealth and incentivized to prevent transformation. Further, the financial and progress burden it is placing on our country is striking. In thinking about his patients, his family, his community, and communities everywhere, he is deeply passionate about transforming healthcare to work better for everyone.

Describe something not-work related Ben is passionate about.

Outside of work, he can be found seeking adventure and balance in the western NC landscape alongside his wife and two kids...water, rocks, soil, bikes, legos, etc. Younger years included ample hours on tennis courts as a Tarheel, while movement of many forms remains central. Dancing, theater, film, ecology, and National Geographic also have a place.