Case Study of Heartland Growers: The Kindest Thing You Can Do For Your Employees

Heartland Growers is a full-service wholesale greenhouse, a family owned and operated business that is considered one of the most modern greenhouse facilities in Indiana.

Their efficient and automated growing facility stretches over thirty acres, offers a wide variety of plants and supports a large workforce. A workforce they consider to be one of their greatest assets. 

“We’re not just a business, we’re family” - Heartland Growers

We have been their partner for over fifteen years and counting and know how important establishing productive and valuable partnerships is to them. We have seen this mindset being extended across the business by developing strong relationships with their employees.

Renewals were a headache.

With 40-50 people on their plan and plenty of seasonal workers every year, the yearly insurance process was very painful. We knew that we could make things better for them if they were willing to do things differently.

Some would say this business is too small or not the right kind of industry for the type of change we suggested, but they were courageous and dedicated to the process. They felt that a change in their plan was the kindest thing they could do for their employees.

We discussed strategy, established a road map, and because we have built trust over the years, our team was trusted to execute the plan. They decided to make a considerable change in their health plan with their strategies and their deliverables, because the pain of renewals over the years was not sustainable.

They moved from fully insured to self-funded. Even with 40 to 50 employees.

The strategy included moving to a reference-based pricing approach and as a result, they communicate with their employees differently. With ongoing support and communication, this change has allowed employees to be comfortable with navigating the health insurance and healthcare world differently.

And because the business has saved money, they looked for opportunities to improve their plan even more. They address medication in their plan in a different way and they are one of the early adopters of focusing on advocacy and sourcing programs.

They haven’t had any premium increases since 2015. They’ve actually had a few premium decreases. And they’ve received two dividend checks back when they’ve had positive performance in their health plan.

The changes in their plan have paid off.

Their expenses are now predictable, they are no longer getting more expensive while also becoming worse every year as traditional plans do. They unlocked more capital, by avoiding rising costs and receiving refunds. On top of that, by removing the pain of the renewal, they have gained more freedom and time to focus on the rest of their business.

The Gapinski’s run a true family business and their dedication and pride shows in every aspect of Heartland Growers. We are thrilled to work with this family business.

“The relationship between Heartland Growers and Conner Insurance has been of great value, and over many years has had a positive impact on Heartland’s bottom line.  When companies our size were seeing percentage increases in the double digits Conner’s team was able to keep our rates at almost flat for the past TWO years.  In addition, with their industry knowledge and guidance we set up plans that allowed for Heartland the chance to be refunded based upon plan usage.  Over our time with Conner Insurance we have had a large check written back to us twice and just last year our returned amount was $89,000!  In this challenging employment climate we could not ask for a better team.” - Heartland Growers

They were early adopters.

They did the work.

They continue to see the results.

If you have questions about your benefits plan, don’t hesitate to contact us.


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