Dishing up savings: Chamber Benefit Plan takes a bite out of health insurance costs for St. Louis restaurant

With the rising cost of employee health insurance eating away at small businesses across Missouri, restaurants like Sauce on the Side in St. Louis need a cost-effective way to provide quality insurance to their employees.

Mangialardo

“It is an expense. But we try to offer health insurance to our employees as an added benefit,” said Ryan Mangialardo, a co-owner of the eatery popular for made-from-scratch calzones and fresh salads.

Mangialardo said it is important to provide insurance in today’s competitive labor market. When he found out about a new option on the Missouri health insurance market for small businesses, Mangialardo realized that finding an affordable plan with good coverage wasn’t pie-in-the-sky dreaming.

As a member of a local chamber of commerce, Sauce on the Side was eligible for the Chamber Benefit Plan, a multiple employer welfare arrangement health insurance option. This health plan model can lower rates — while improving coverage — because it pools smaller employers together to share the claims risk.

When Sauce on the Side switched from their old plan, the difference was noticeable.

“Ultimately, it’s more affordable for my employees,” Mangialardo said.

It wasn’t just that the cost was more palatable — the coverage improved as well.  

“It’s been all positive,” Mangialardo said. “I have a couple of employees who have spouses and children on the plan, and it’s obviously saved them a lot of money. They’ve been able to go and do the buy-up plan…That’s probably one of the biggest pieces of feedback from our staff that are on the plan. They were able to upgrade their insurance and still spend the same amount of money.”

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