Health Insurance: A Small Business Recruitment Tool


Workers looking at documents on tableWhen Wayne Leuning puts out an ad to hire a new employee, the benefits package is prominent: health insurance 100 percent paid for by employer.

At any given time Leuning employees 20-25 people at D&W Industries. The Sioux Falls, S.D., based company builds grain elevators and other agriculture structures. For more than 20 years the company has not only offered health insurance but also paid 100 percent of the premium cost for its employees.

"Competition is high in the construction industry for good employees," Leuning said. "Everybody has to offer health insurance. We have a much better plan and that's a real perk. I have guys that stay with me because of the insurance."

In a state with a roughly 3 percent unemployment rate, employers like Leuning need to think beyond salary as a recruitment tool. Increasingly employers are looking to other benefits to recruit and keep employees. As people continue to pay more for health care, health insurance is an important consideration when deciding to leave or take a new job.

In fact, 90% of employees said benefits were important to their job satisfaction, according to a report by the Society for Human Resource Management.

"When a company looks at the benefits that attract and retain employees, health insurance is the biggest driver next to actual take-home salary," said Jordan Anderson, Vice President of Sales and Account Management at Avera Health Plans. "But it's also not the only consideration. Depending on your industry, your employees may have other needs - dental, vision, 401K, and gym reimbursements, for example."

Benefit trends include:

  • Fitness incentives or discounts
  • Virtual care options for easier and faster access to providers
  • Plan options that include high-deductible health plans
  • Employee culture (employee lunches, wellness challenges, flexible scheduling)
  • Mental health coverage (Employee Assistance Programs)

In 2018, 64 percent of employers offered some sort of virtual care option, according to the SHRM Benefits Report. Not only can it help sick employees see a doctor faster, but more health plans are providing it at a discounted rate. Avera Health Plans small group plans offer AveraNow virtual care as a benefit to employees.

Leuning offers the most benefit-rich plan for small groups since he switched to a small business plan with Avera Health Plans. His employees have a $1,000 deductible with perks that include no cost to use AveraNow* virtual visits, a free fitness membership to GreatLIFE Golf & Fitness, plus $15,000 in life insurance and other health care discounts.

For his employees, the more affordable cost and quality coverage is the greatest benefit.

"It's important for me to give our guys insurance," Leuning said. "We want to give our guys the best benefits for the buck. Our premium went down when we switched to Avera Health Plans, so I thought if I can offer better insurance and save money that's a win-win."

If you want to learn more, talk to your agent. 

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*IRS guidelines indicate that members with HSA-eligible plans may be subject to tax penalties if they use the free AveraNow service. If you have an HSA eligible plan, you may use your HSA or flex spending dollars for this service.