Finding a Health Insurance Plan That Puts People First

Written by: Brady Drake

With 21 Choice Bank branches across North Dakota and Minnesota, Torie Syverson, Employee Benefits Manager at Choice Bank in Grand Forks, is constantly busy running new hire orientations, walking people through their benefits package and providing them with other resources. Throughout it all, her goal is to always put her employees’ needs first and provide support. It’s about being there to listen and guide people along when they need it. All of these aspects are critical components to their company-wide People First philosophy. And often, the work behind-the-scenes involves partnering and building good relationships with vendors to make sure the right tools are always available.

Their ‘People First’ mentality doesn’t end there – it’s an ever-present part of their culture and affects every decision they make as an organization, big or small.

“It’s how we pick whom we hire, it’s how we treat our customers, internal and external, and it’s how we choose whom we partner with,” says Syverson. “It’s who we are.”

Trust and customer service make all the difference

One key element that makes it all work is trust. Syverson states, “If I can’t help my employees with something, they need to know that I am referring them to a vendor I can trust who will be there when they need it and answer their questions.”

Trust and providing outstanding customer service were two of the factors in Choice Bank’s decision to switch their health insurance carrier to HealthPartners in 2021. She says that she can trust that HealthPartners is going to deliver the same level of service that she strives for daily in her own work.

That means quickly resolving issues and not leaving people hanging, waiting for answers.

“Any time a company lacks good customer service, that can turn into a huge pain point,” adds Syverson. “We are grateful to HealthPartners for their stand-out service and being there to help our employees in an efficient manner.”

Torrie Syverson, Employee Benefits Manager at Choice Bank in Grand Forks, has spent the last five years warmly welcoming employees and helping them grow in their roles.

Cost savings and convenience without sacrificing quality

Another top concern that Syverson echoes with many employers is the need for cost savings and a large network of in-network doctors. Because Choice Bank’s 21 branches are spread across

North Dakota and Minnesota, they needed a network of doctors covering all markets—which proved difficult to come by.

“We have employees in urban and rural areas so we needed a flexible, expansive provider network to support them and HealthPartners was able to offer it,” she says. “Because they’re also a care system and an insurer, they could more effectively reach out to providers to secure contracts at competitive rates. We didn’t know that was possible initially. In addition, they also offer convenient telehealth options through Virtuwell and Doctor On Demand, which helps to improve access to care, especially in our rural areas. Plus, they could offer lower rates, pharmacy tools to compare prescription drug prices and plenty of plan design options.”

Digital tools to enhance and support health and well-being

For Syverson, everything comes back to cost savings and convenience and wanting to educate her employees about how to live a healthier lifestyle and be better consumers. “The health, well-being and mental health of our employees are major concerns for us, especially after the past year,” she adds. “And HealthPartners was extremely proactive throughout the pandemic, encouraging us to utilize our Employee Assistance Program and providing additional digital wellness tools like their Wellbeats fitness program and various telehealth options. They didn’t try to figure out how to create these tools during the pandemic – they already had them.”

A seamless approach to providing administrative support and claims processing was equally critical. “HealthPartners has been there for us from the beginning—whether it’s through emails, hosting private lunch and learns, or showing up at open enrollment.”

Personalized, seamless admin support to help you succeed

Syverson meets monthly with her HealthPartners representative who takes a highly personal approach to making their plan work for them. Being that it’s an entirely self-funded plan, they want to stay on top of the costs and expenses. “Our reps are committed to meeting with us monthly to give a snapshot of where we are, what incremental changes we might need to make or things we should be continuing
to promote and communicate to keep us on the right track,” she exaplains. They provide us with the tools we need, help us brainstorm new ideas and they have the vendor relationships to make it all happen.

With their People First philosophy always top of mind, Syverson adds that the overall level of customer care HealthPartners offers will continue to make a big difference moving forward.

“When it comes to customer service, we know really quickly if a health plan is working for us or not,” Syverson says. “That’s something I hear about daily. And HealthPartners is a great company to work with – they have amazing customer service and super-fast turnaround times. Our employees now have more time to spend on what’s most important to them, rather than being stuck on hold dealing with an inaccurate bill. That’s huge.”

Ask your broker about HealthPartners small group solutions in North Dakota. We offer a wide variety of fully-funded and level-funded options for small employers, including integrated benefits with dental and pharmacy. Our products are flexible, affordable and designed to meet the needs of a diverse workforce. We can help you maximize saving without sacrificing quality.

Visit to learn more about our available health solutions or call 800-298-4235.

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.