Case Study: Ullman Oil

Ullman Oil
Industry Energy
Location Chagrin Falls, Ohio


When Ullman Oil’s group health insurance continued to steadily rise over the years, Office Manager Allison Johnson knew they had to make a change. They switched providers several times in the past but each time, the price kept climbing. When their current insurance company declined to quote them for the next year, that was the final straw. Their employees had become extremely frustrated with the constant changes in an effort to manage costs.

Allison started researching and learned about PeopleKeep’s ICHRA. Ullman Oil’s payroll provider recommended using PeopleKeep. At that point, the search was over. PeopleKeep’s ICHRA would put them more in control of their benefit, reduce their exposure, and there would be no more surprises with cost every month.

Ullman Oil has a 90% participation rate with the ICHRA and has saved 40% on health care costs which kept them afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic and is now used for employee retention efforts and updating technology.

“The ICHRA fits everyone’s individual needs. Now employees ask why we didn’t do it sooner!”

Allison Johnson

Office Manager


full-time employees


participation rate


minutes or less per month

“The ICHRA fits everyone’s individual needs. Now employees ask why we didn’t do it sooner!”

The company

In business for over 50 years, Ullman Oil Company is family-owned and operated and is a certified Women-Owned Business. They are committed to delivering exceptional value to businesses by providing quality, high-performance products and exceptional customer service. Ullman Oil is positioned to be a single-source supplier for fuels, lubricants and related products. They are dedicated to improving their customers’ businesses, performance, and profitability.

The challenge

Ullman Oil provided group health insurance to their employees for several years but continuous rising costs were making it unaffordable. They often switched providers to keep their costs as low as possible but the rates just kept climbing. Employees began getting frustrated and fed up with all the constant changes. When their current group health insurance provider refused to even quote them for the upcoming year, Allison decided they needed to be more in control of their health care benefit.

With their employees’ ages ranging from 27 to 76, she wanted a new benefit plan to be equitable for everyone. Previously they were offering an HRA in conjunction with their high deductible group health plan to bridge the gap for their employees but the exposure was too high and they were looking to consolidate everything into one benefit. They needed to find something that would be cost effective while still meeting the needs of all their employees, no matter their health situation.

The solution

Since they were currently on a short term health plan to get them through the end of the year, Allison quickly started researching. She went online and found many companies that offered an ICHRA health benefit which really intrigued her.

Ullman Oil’s payroll company referred Allison to PeopleKeep. PeopleKeep was one of the companies that Allison had researched and she remembered their helpful and informative
website. PeopleKeep’s ICHRA would let them provide monthly allowances for their employees to pay for insurance premiums. Ullman’s employees could work with expert brokers to find cost-effective individual health insurance policies that fit both their health and financial needs, reducing the headache of policy shopping.

Allison brought the ICHRA benefit and PeopleKeep to the owners and they were sold. The biggest hurdle they faced was deciding how much allowance to offer their employees. But with PeopleKeep’s decision tool to compare allowances to health insurance costs, they were able to reach a solution and roll out the benefit.

The results

About 50% of Ullman Oil’s employees opted in to the new ICHRA benefit. While this is very similar to the participation rate on their previous group plan, 90% of those that opted in are actively using the benefit. Most employees are using their full allowances every month so they don’t have to pay anything extra out of pocket, making them much happier with the control and flexibility that they had over their previous group health insurance.

Ullman Oil has saved 40% on their health care costs in comparison to their previous group health insurance. They no longer had to offer a group coverage HRA because employees were able to choose a plan that worked best for them. The savings have been used to fund general operations and updating technology which was very much needed due to Covid-19 as well as funding employee retention. Allison attracts new applicants by taking the time to explain the benefit early on in the interview process and provides a comprehensive ICHRA information sheet so applicants are fully aware of how the benefit can be useful to them.

“It takes about 15 minutes a month to do reimbursements - which is fantastic.”

In addition to cost savings, predictability, and affordability, Allison has saved a ton of time each month by switching to the ICHRA. Previously, she was fielding several health insurance issues from employees on a daily basis which was very time consuming. After working with employees during the onboarding process, they were able to understand the ICHRA much easier on their own or could reach out to PeopleKeep’s customer service team. Now Allison only takes 15 minutes per month to fulfill her administrative duties and approve reimbursements on the platform. Because of the success they’ve seen, Ullman Oil is intending on keeping their ICHRA benefit set up the same when they renew next year.