A veterinary clinic's guide to health benefits

If you run a veterinary clinic, you likely recognize that your staff is your greatest advantage. But are you taking the proper steps to retain them long-term? Learn how to build an attractive health benefits package that serves the needs of your veterinary staff in this ultimate guide.

Learn how PeopleKeep can help you build an enticing health benefits package for your veterinary clinic.

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Support your staff’s well-being and retention with personalized benefits

Running a veterinary clinic can be challenging. While your main priority is providing quality care to your client’s pets, you must also foster a work environment where your employees feel valued and supported. Offering meaningful employee health benefits can be an effective way to achieve this goal. But, you may think you can’t afford it.

Thankfully, you don’t always need a large budget to offer employee health benefits at your veterinary clinic or hospital. Instead, you can leverage more cost-controlled, personalized health benefits options that will work for your team and budget. By tailoring your compensation package—including your benefits offerings—to your staff's needs, you’ll showcase your commitment to their well-being and improve retention, ensuring your business’s success.


Why should veterinary clinics offer health benefits?

People’s pets hold a special place in their hearts and families. Individuals trust veterinarians to keep their animal companions healthy and happy. However, if a clinic’s staff doesn’t have access to health benefits, they may not be able to get medical care when they need it most. Not only can this affect their physical and mental health, but it can interrupt their ability to provide veterinary care for their furry patients.

The veterinary field has 32,100 companies, employing roughly 440,900 workers and bringing in $57 billion annually. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the employment of veterinarians will grow by 20% between 2022 and 2032. Due to the increasing demand for veterinary services, more than 50% of clinics reported at least one job opening for licensed veterinarians. About 63% had three technician openings.

In this tight labor market, attracting and retaining veterinarians can be challenging. That’s where health benefits come in. Offering health benefits lets job candidates know that you’re invested in their well-being. It also lets them know they’ll have access to comprehensive medical coverage when they need care. Smaller animal clinics can also leverage health benefits to help them stand out from larger practices.

Our 2024 Employee Benefits Survey found that 81% of employees said an employer’s benefits package is an important factor in whether they accept a job. Employees ranked health benefits as the most important benefit, with 92% of employees valuing them. Simply put, providing health benefits your employees value improves satisfaction, productivity, and engagement. This makes them more likely to remain at your organization.


Health benefit options for veterinary clinics

Your licensed veterinarians and support staff know the importance of preventive care for pets. So why not give them the same consideration? Worrying about the affordability of adding health benefits to your compensation package is understandable. But, prioritizing the health and satisfaction of your team should be a top focus for any small veterinary clinic owner.

Luckily, many health benefit options can provide excellent coverage to your employees without breaking the bank. In the sections below, we’ll explore your options for offering your veterinary professionals and office staff a health benefit.

Traditional group health insurance for veterinarians

Employer-provided health insurance, also known as a group health plan, is a popular benefit among U.S. employers. Covering almost 153 million Americans, it’s the most familiar option for employees, which can make it an attractive benefit. With this type of health benefit, vet clinic employers choose one group health policy for their company. Employees can enroll in the plan at a reduced rate.

There are many types of group health plans available for veterinary clinicss, including:

You can buy a group policy through an insurance company, agent, or broker. If you’re a small veterinary clinic owner, you can use the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) marketplace to find coverage. You may also qualify for the small business health care tax credit to reduce your premium costs.

Traditional group health insurance can be rigid and have policy limits. That’s why many employers offer supplemental and ancillary benefits to help employees avoid the financial burden of expensive medical bills if they need routine or emergency care.

Some of the most popular ancillary health benefits are vision and dental coverage, health and wellness stipends, health savings accounts (HSAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs), and even pet insurance plans. While offering these benefits costs extra, they give your employees greater coverage and fill the gaps that come with group health plans.

Due to the high cost of group health plans and their potential add-ons, many small veterinary clinics can’t afford to offer them. They may also fail to meet the plan’s minimum participation requirements or have limited plan options in their area. They also can’t risk an unexpected rate increase. That’s why many small clinic owners are looking for an alternative to group plans.

Health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) are modern and customizable health benefits that can enhance your staff’s well-being both in and outside your clinic. Unlike group health insurance coverage, they help companies of all sizes offer employees a flexible, quality benefit without rate increases or minimum participation requirements.

Let’s look more closely at HRAs in the section below.

Health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) for veterinary clinics

An HRA is a flexible health benefit that you can use to reimburse your staff for a wide range of out-of-pocket medical expenses, like prescription drugs, mental health services, and sometimes individual plan premiums. With an HRA, you set a monthly allowance that your employees can spend on healthcare items. Once employees make an approved purchase, you reimburse them tax-free up to their allowance amount.

Thanks to HRAs, you can easily provide your employees with affordable and flexible health benefits, no matter your clinic size or budget. Because of their customizability, offering an HRA instead of group health insurance is an excellent way to better attract and retain veterinary staff.

The following are three popular types of HRAs that employers can offer at their animal clinics:

  • Qualified small employer HRA (QSEHRA): The QSEHRA is a stand-alone HRA for employers with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) that don’t offer a group plan. Even though the QSEHRA has maximum contribution limits, it has simple design options, making it optimal for small veterinary practice owners providing a health benefit for the first time. Employees must have a health plan with minimum essential coverage (MEC) to participate.
  • Individual coverage HRA (ICHRA): An ICHRA is an excellent health benefit for clinics of all sizes. It has no maximum contribution limits and allows you to vary eligibility and allowance amounts by job-based employee classes. If you have 50 or more FTEs, an ICHRA can help you satisfy the Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s employer mandate as an alternative to group medical insurance as long as your allowance is affordable and your employees have a qualifying form of individual health coverage.
  • Group coverage HRA (GCHRA): If you want to or already offer a group plan, you can supplement it with a GCHRA. Also known as an integrated HRA, employers of all sizes can reimburse their employees for out-of-pocket costs their group plan doesn’t fully cover, like deductibles and copays. Only employees enrolled in your group health can participate. However, you have employee class customization options and no maximum contribution limits for greater flexibility.

Offering an HRA at your clinic doesn’t have to be complicated. PeopleKeep helps thousands of organizations provide HRAs through our benefits administration software. When you administer your HRA through PeopleKeep, we handle the most time-consuming tasks, like creating plan documents and reviewing employee reimbursement requests.

With easy-to-use features and our award-winning customer service team, we’re here to help you manage your employee health benefits so you can focus on running your business and treating your client’s pets.


Learn more about PeopleKeep's HRA administration software


Qualified small employer HRA

A powerful alternative to group health insurance made specifically for small employers.




Individual coverage HRA

A health benefit that enables employers to cover the individual insurance plans their employees choose.




Group coverage


A health benefit that employers can use to help employees with their out-of-pocket expenses, like deductibles.



More helpful resources for veterinary clinics


Customer case study: Brunswick Veterinary Clinic




The veterinary clinic’s guide to health benefits




Group health insurance vs. HRAs comparison chart



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Offer a personalized health benefit with PeopleKeep for a happier and more productive team

PeopleKeep’s HRA software makes offering a health benefit simple and accessible. Let us help you build health benefits that your team will love. Learn more about how PeopleKeep serves small employers, or book a live demo of our platform.