Successfully owning and operating a restaurant depends on many factors, not the least of which is maintaining an experienced and dependable workforce.
Being able to offer comprehensive and cost-effective health benefit plans to attract and retain employees is one of the reasons why the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA) embraces its seven-year partnership with UnitedHealthcare.
Through a collaboration, which is an extension of UnitedHealthcare’s relationship with the National Restaurant Association, employees of IRA-member organizations may be provided simpler access to health care coverage and related products, with potential savings of up to 5 percent.
“These kinds of health benefits are essential,” said Sam Toia, president and CEO of the IRA. “Employees want good wages and benefits, and restaurants need an edge in the current environment to attract and retain talent.”
Toia said the relationship with UnitedHealthcare is working because it addresses numerous health care issues faced by many restaurant owners, operators and suppliers across Illinois.
The benefit plans offered include an array of features such as wellness programs and services, Spanish or bilingual tools and resources, preventive medical plans, plus access to a National Restaurant Association Pharmacy Discount Card program for savings on prescriptions.
Members can also access the UnitedHealthcare app, in addition to programs and services designed to help fight diabetes and obesity.
IRA members have access to a variety of benefit plans designed to meet a variety of needs, said Michael Telesky, vice president of sales at UnitedHealthcare of Illinois. A popular choice are plans featuring Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) that provide different options of provider networks that may lead to significant savings for members.
“It’s all about creating greater flexibility and better coverage that’s tailored to each member’s health care needs,” Telesky said.
One of the more popular features in the benefit packages is the Motion program, which may reward members and their spouses for the number of steps they walk each day. By meeting certain step goals per day, members may earn financial rewards that can be used toward their Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) or Health Savings Account (HSA).
“People in the restaurant industry are on their feet all the time, so they may really benefit from the Motion program,” Telesky said.
Membership to the IRA is based on restaurant revenue, but Telesky said there may be an instant return on a restaurant owner’s investment with the 5 percent savings available from UnitedHealthcare.
Beyond the benefit plans offered by UnitedHealthcare, Toia said the company is a supporter of several different initiatives organized by the IRA, including Chicago Gourmet, the annual food and wine festival that draws more than 14,000 attendees in Chicago’s Millennium Park every September.