Veterinary practice owners are dedicated to health. It’s the foundation of a lifelong commitment to animals. But while veterinary practice owners and managers are experts on caring for animals, navigating the confusing world of employee health, is, well, a whole different animal. 

That’s why the AVMA Trust has created this four-step guide to help AVMA members understand and select an employee health benefits plan that’s right for you and your practice.

1 |  Explore Your Options

It’s not quite passing the veterinary exam boards — but there’s still a lot to consider when selecting a health plan. Coverage options are generally tied to the unique individual factors of a practice, but for small group benefits (typically 2 to 50 employees) the options remain plentiful. Consider that specific medical plans in the marketplace might offer a combination of: 

  • Major Medical Benefit Plan 
    • Including a choice between PPOs, HMOs and high-deductible plans
  • Large Network Access
    • Providing your employees more options to providers and doctors, including high- and low-deductible plan options available to suit need and budget  
  • Pharmacy
  • Vision and Dental
    • While not common, some plans offer additional benefits not covered in standard care plan
  • Wellness Program
    • Offers employees financial, health and community support
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Mental health, family and legal/financial resources
  • Healthcare and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
  • Voluntary coverage 
    • To cover accidents, critical illness and hospital indemnity

2 |  Determine Your Budget

Like all business decisions with your practice, it’s essential to consider your budget. Group health is no small benefit and careful analysis in both cost and coverage must be considered.

It’s important to remember that in today’s insurance marketplace, small and midsize practices are not priced out. In fact, they have options that large employers cannot offer like the variety of group- and individual-coverage options available, depending on your state, area and average employee age.

3 |  Weigh the Factors for Your Employees

A critical part of the process is to view the health benefits plan through the eyes of all your employees. A recent survey by the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA) indicated the top pain point in practices is employee fatigue (stress, irritability, etc), so it’s important to remember that offering a health plan might be the crucial decision for an employee to apply for a position at your practice — or leave for greener pastures. 

4 |  Understand Your Competition

From attracting and retaining clients to hiring and retaining staff, you know better than anyone that the veterinary industry is competitive.

Offering a simple benefits package over salary is added compensation that can maximize earned pre-tax revenue and should always be a valued part of the interview process or continuing benefit education. 

About the AVMA Trust Association Health Plan (AHP)

The mission of the AVMA Trust is to protect veterinarians through it all with veterinarian-inspired coverage. That’s why a group health medical plan is a critical member benefit for practice owners. 

The AHP now offers six fully insured major medical plans to practices through BlueCross Blue Shield to 11 states with coverage rates guaranteed until 2022. 

To learn more and to connect with the AVMA Trust, please reach out today: