After non-emergency surgeries benefit, Topgolf sees ROI

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Sports bar and driving range operator Topgolf saw a 2.57% ROI after implementing benefit service provider EmployerDirect Healthcare’s SurgeryPlus, a supplementary benefit that provides non-emergency surgeries to members free of cost, to its self-insured health plan.

The Dallas-based company says it saw significant growth in 2016, with its eligible employee base growing from 2,000 to 6,500, leading to a self-funded medical insurance plan, Topgolf executives say. The company then added SurgeryPlus to its 2017 plan year offering as a way to keep costs down.

“We’re fortunate that we haven’t seen the huge [premium] increases other employers have seen,” says Jennifer Hale, Topgolf’s director of benefits. “Participation in the plan has helped mitigate rising costs.”

Hale and Deslyn Norris, Topgolf’s vice president of human resources, say they discussed how to create a best-in-benefits plan for their employees, especially because the industry is prone to high turnover rates, and reached out to SurgeryPlus to offer this added benefit.

“One of the things that we look at holistically, are we creating the kind of environment that we can attract and retain our employees?” Norris says. “What’s going to resonate with our associates?”

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The Topgolf executives declined to share the cost of the benefit but say they have a negotiated contract with SurgeryPlus based on a per-employee pricing model.

EmployerDirect Healthcare, the Dallas-based company that sells SurgeryPlus to large employers with self-funded medical plans, says it negotiates bundled rates for medical procedures that include physician, anesthesia and facility fees.

Under the benefit, the deductible is waived.

EmployerDirect Healthcare, which began offering the benefit in 2014, also claims that employers using SurgeryPlus will save between 30% and 50% on those medical costs, which could lead to a 6% to 10% decline on overall healthcare spend.

Topgolf says its modest 2% ROI is what is expected during the first year of a self-funded healthcare plan, with Hale noting that she hopes the savings will increase for the 2018 plan year.

The company employs more than 15,000 workers across 41 U.S. venues, with 6,500 eligible for benefits such as medical, dental, vision, life insurance, short-term disability, paid time off, a 401(k) plan with a 50% match of the first 6% contributed and supplemental voluntary benefits like pet insurance, according to Topgolf.

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