Today's Veterinary Business

OCT 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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12 Today's Veterinary Business Business Business FRINGE BENEFITS Whatever your reason is, controlling costs is paramount to the sustainability of your health insurance plan. The expense is likely the second- or third-largest expenditure behind payroll, and it's becoming only more expensive. How can you control costs so that you're able to continue offering coverage? According to the National Business Group on Health, employers project that the total cost of providing medical and pharmacy benefits will rise for the fifth consecutive year in 2018, to $14,156 per worker. Tough Decisions Let's assume your clinic is like the average general practice and has 17 full-time employees, 10 of whom participate in your health insurance program. That would put your an- nual expense, before any employee contributions, at $141,560. If just one more employee signs up next year, you'll face a cost increase of almost $15,000 just to maintain the current level of benefits. Most practice owners and manag- ers try to minimize this cost in- crease in a handful of ways, none of them viable long term. For instance: • You can reduce the percent- age of the premium that the practice pays, or you can increase deductibles and out- of-pocket limits. Both options shift more of the cost to employees and doesn't make them happy. • You can raise your prices and pass the cost to your clients. That's not an option for prac- tices in a competitive market. • You eat the increase, which is what most will do. But it's not really a solution. Regardless of your hospital's size or why you offer health If you're a veterinary practice owner who has decided to offer group health insurance benefits to your staff, you've likely done so for one of three reasons: • Your practice is large enough that you're required to comply with the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate (more than 50 full-time-equivalent employees) and you'd rather not pay penalties for noncompliance. • The market where you live and work has limited health insurance options — none suit your needs — so you offer group insurance because you need the coverage personally. • You recognize the importance of providing employees with access to quality and affordable health care cover- age, and you genuinely want to use benefits as a tool to attract and retain top talent. By Cory Friedman, CBC Calculated risks Take control of employee health insurance costs by selecting the right plan and benefits. Self-funding, captives and a level-funded program are your primary options.

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