Posted tagged ‘Affordable Health Care’

President Obama Signs Health Care Bill

March 23, 2010

As you may have heard, President Obama signed the expanded health care bill into law this morning. The law expands health insurance coverage for more than 32 million Americans.

I have a feeling that this is going to continue to be a heated debate across the United States for days, weeks and months to come. So…what do you think? Is the health care bill a good thing? A bad thing?

From the New York Times:

Mr. Obama affixed his curlicue signature, almost letter by letter, to the measure, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, surrounded by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and a raft of other lawmakers who spent the past year on a legislative roller-coaster ride trying to pass it. Aides said he would pass out the 20 pens he used as mementoes.

The ceremony included two special guests: Vicki Kennedy, the widow of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who had been a driving force for health care legislation before his death last year, and Connie Anderson, the sister of Natoma Canfield, the Ohio cancer survivor whose struggle to pay skyrocketing health insurance premiums became a touchstone of Mr. Obama’s campaign to overhaul the system.

Mr. Kennedy’s son, Representative Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, was also there, carrying a gift for the president: a copy of a bill his father introduced in 1970 to provide national health insurance. On it, the younger Mr. Kennedy had written a personal message to Mr. Obama.

From ABC News:

Republicans across the country are specifically challenging the mandate in the health care bill that requires every individual to have health insurance, charging that it is unconstitutional.

The individual mandate is an “unprecedented overreach by the federal government forcing individual citizens to buy a good or a service for no other reason then they happen to be alive or a person,” Republican governor of Minnesota Tim Pawlenty said today on “Good Morning America.”

Pawlenty said he sent a letter to Minnesota’s Democratic attorney general arguing against the constitutionality of the mandate.

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Burgerville Affordable Health Care Program Featured on FOX & Friends

September 8, 2009

Be sure to check out footage of client Burgerville from FOX & Friends this morning which features President and CEO Jeff Harvey discussing the chain’s affordable health care program for hourly employees.

Under Burgerville’s health care plan, employees who have been with the company for at least six months, and work 20 hours a week, are eligible for health insurance which costs the employee $15 per month. The cost for an employee and children is $30, employee and spouse is $60 and a full family plan is just $90. This coverage comes with no deductible.

Burgerville pays more than 90 percent of the premium for employees and their dependents. The most recent survey by the company found that nearly all of Burgerville’s 579 eligible hourly employees are enrolled.

The Pacific Northwest chain has been able to offer their affordable health care plan for nearly 4 years, and as a result, has experienced reduced turnover, increased long-term retention and increased operational productivity.

Burgerville saw turnover drop from 128% in 2005 to 54% in 2006 (the first year of the program).

Initiatives such as this industry leading health care program, an expanded leadership development training program for employees, the company wide use of wind power, recycling of used trans fat free cooking oil into biodiesel, as well as an expanded recycling and composting program, are all based around Burgerville’s belief that it is good business to adopt practices that are good for their guests, employees, the local community and the environment.

WSJ: Burgerville’s Health-Care Recipe

August 31, 2009

A great article in today’s Wall Street Journal, written by Sarah Needleman, featuring client Burgerville and their affordable employee health care program.

If you don’t believe that a fast food, quick serve or fast casual restaurant chain can provide their employees with affordable health care, you will be pleasantly surprised!

From the Wall Street Journal:

Four years ago, executives of Burgerville, a regional restaurant chain, agreed to pay at least 90% of health-care premiums for hourly employees who work at least 20 hours a week. Today, the executives say the unusual move has saved money by cutting turnover, boosting sales and improving productivity.

Burgerville’s experience is notable for the food-service industry, where turnover is high and fewer than half of chains offer health insurance for part-time hourly employees, according to People Report, a research firm. The chains that do offer benefits pay on average 49% of the cost for employees working at least 30 hours a week, People Report says.

Burgerville’s initiative “not only improves quality of service but it saves money by not having to replace staff as frequently,” said Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic Inc., a Chicago consulting and research firm for the food industry.

Burgerville, a 39-restaurant chain based in Vancouver, Wash., and owned by closely held Holland Inc., has long followed a distinctive path. It offers hormone-free meat, uses wind energy to power its stores and prints nutritional information on its receipts.

Under Burgerville’s plan, individual hourly workers can enroll in a health-maintenance organization for $15 a month, with no deductible. A worker and spouse pay $30 monthly; family plans cost $90. Salaried employees, whose plans didn’t change significantly, pay $84 a month for individual and $240 monthly for family coverage, and have an annual deductible of $500.

Executives say the plan paid for itself, and more. Turnover in 2006 plunged to 54%, from 128% in 2005. That’s a big deal when it costs an average of $1,700 to replace and train a restaurant worker, according to People Report.

Retailers and Restaurants Get Smart to Retain Staff

October 6, 2008

Turnover is generally high in the retail industry because of numerous factors ranging from long hours and tedious work to competition for staff from other companies. Retailers and restaurants that have taken several approaches to worker retention include my client Burgerville, who makes affordable health care available to all employees who have been with the company at least six months and work 20 hours a week, all for just $15 per month. Another company, Finish Line, has developed distinctive strategies to attract and retain Generation Y workers, and a third company, Duane Reade, has deployed a work force management application to boost customer service and scheduling flexibility.

Susan Reda of STORES Magazine has written a great piece featuring these three companies which can be found on the STORES Website by clicking here.

From the article:

Recruiting employees to work in retail stores is the easy part; it’s convincing them to stay that can be grueling.

Turnover in the retail industry is notoriously high. For myriad reasons — everything from long hours and tedious tasks to the chance to earn a dime more per hour at the shop across the mall — retail employees suffer from a collective case of retention deficit disorder. Statistics reported earlier this year by the National Retail Federation estimate industry turnover at 58 percent for full-time associates and 114 percent for part-time employees.

Given the cost of recruiting, hiring, onboarding and training, retailers are understandably frustrated when an employee who has been with the company just a few short weeks or months decides to move on. The prospect of investing in an employee who departs before the season changes is unsettling at best, but return on investment is not the only concern: Customer service suffers when there are not enough associates to assist shoppers, process transactions or provide the knowledgeable insight that a seasoned employee can offer.

Company: BURGERVILLE
Headquarters: Vancouver, Wash.
Employees: 1,400+
Retention Strategy: Affordable Health Care

A 2005 employee survey spelled it out in black and white: The No. 1 concern of Burgerville workers was affordable health care.

“We bet that if we could find a way to make health care affordable for all our employees — most of whom are hourly employees — we could alleviate a huge concern and win their loyalty,” chief cultural officer Jack Graves says.

It was a sizeable bet — approximately $1.5 million — but it has paid off handsomely. Since it began offering an extended and improved health insurance plan, Burgerville has achieved a dramatic increase in employee retention and loyalty.

Prior to implementing the new plan, turnover rates hovered around 128 percent. In 2006, the first full year of the health care initiative, turnover dropped to 54 percent; today the rate is holding steady at 52 percent. Productivity and employee confidence are up, absenteeism is down and, by reducing turnover, Burgerville has conservatively saved more than $500,000 — capital the quick-serve chain would have had to invest in recruiting, training and onboarding.

Under Burgerville’s plan, employees who have been with the company for at least six months and work 20 hours a week are eligible for health insurance; it costs each employee $15 per month, or $90 monthly for family coverage. Burgerville’s parent company, The Holland, pays more than 90 percent of the premium for employees and their dependents.

The package, put together in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, has no deductible — a tipping point for employee acceptance, according to Graves. High school and college students, retirees and young moms working part time “are often on a tight budget,” Graves says. “What we learned, however, was that these employees were less likely to go to the doctor — even if they had some insurance — because they couldn’t afford the deductible.

“Offering affordable health care with a zero deductible was a game changer,” he says.

It didn’t happen overnight, however. “The program was so outside the box that people didn’t believe it at first,” Graves says. “We actually set up a field trip of sorts to a Kaiser clinic to demonstrate how it worked.”

Employee retention isn’t the only metric Burgerville uses to measure its return on investment. “With more skilled employees, our restaurants are running better and they look better,” Graves says. “The food is hotter and it’s served faster, too. There’s a renewed sense of pride and commitment.”

The changes are having a healthy effect on the bottom line, too; Burgerville reports a year-over-year increase in guest counts and a lift in sales.

“Being a local company, word spread quickly of our commitment to providing health care, and guests have rewarded us for that,” Graves says. The company has received substantial feedback from guests indicating that the care showed to its employees separates Burgerville from the pack.

“Many guests have written to us saying that it is this sort of program that keeps them committed to the Burgerville brand,” Graves says. “I’ve got the e-mails to prove it.”

Burgerville employees are at the forefront of what allows the company to live its values to their fullest extent. Without strong, vibrant and healthy people working in each of their restaurants, the company cannot provide the service which their guests expect.

Even more important, Burgerville has been able to live their mission “Serve with Love” and stand by their employees. Burgerville believes that thriving individuals lead to thriving families which helps build efficient and connected communities. This in turn supports a very healthy and sustainable business.