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Better Health Benefits at Protolabs Reflects Growing Trend

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Over the past five years, Maple Plain, MN-based Protolabs, provider of 3D printing and on-demand production services, has doubled its sales and nearly quadrupled its work force. With 2700 employees today, it expects to add 650 this year.

To attract and retain employees, Protolabs has contributed to a growing trend by increasing its employee health benefits. The company now pays 97 percent of medical costs for all manufacturing employees and has brought down the price of its plan for families. In 2015, employees paid $6,900 a year and up for a family plan, while today annual premiums run as low as $1320, or $55 a paycheck.

"I think that people are starting to look at ways that they can be creative," says Renee Conklin, vice president of human resources. "Again, it isn’t just about money. It’s about how can you be an employer of choice and offer things that are important to employees."

In a trend that reflects both the strong economy and the growing cost of health care, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), found that 34 percent of U.S. employers increased employee benefits between June 2017 and June 2018, mostly to attract and retain workers. That’s up from 19 percent in 2016.

SHRM’s survey found that 51 percent of organizations that increased benefits improved their health plans, 44 percent boosted wellness plans and 39 percent enhanced other programs and services. About 25 percent of survey respondents improved family medical leave benefits. Others cut health insurance premiums, broadened policy choices, lowered deductibles or stashed more cash into worker’s health savings accounts.


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