Case study: Burger chain spends more on health plan, sees gains

Usually, employers grind their teeth and scream about the cost of employee health insurance, and spend as little on it as they can. In fact, some have cut back dramatically, forcing employees to bear more and more of the cost of their own care. However, sometimes changing the rules pays off.

That, at least, has been the case for Burgerville, a regional restaurant chain, which has chosen to voluntarily pay more for employees' healthcare insurance and as a result, has seen tremendous gains.

Burgerville decided four years ago that it would pay at least 90 percent of healthcare premiums for hourly employees who work at least 20 hours per week. This is much different than most chains, which cover an average of 49 percent of the cost for employees working at least 30 hours per week, according to research firm People Report.

Making this rare move, rather than costing money, has actually led to savings for the firm by lowering turnover, boosting productivity and even boosting sales. Burgerville now enjoys better turnover rates than much of the food-service industry, in fact.

To learn more about this strategy:
- read this Kaiser Health News piece