May 09, 2019

Florida and Ohio Restaurant Leaders Share Health Plan Success at White House Meeting

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Two restaurant industry veterans were featured at a May 8 White House policy workshop where each discussed how use of a National Restaurant Association-led Association Health Plan (AHP) enables them to offer affordable and competitive coverage for employees.

Chef Roberta Montelione of Milan Catering in Sarasota and Tampa, Fla., and Paul Belle, Area Developer and Brand Advocate for Firehouse Subs in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, attended the meeting along with National Restaurant Association Senior Vice President of Health & Insurance Services Clinton Wolf and Director of Healthcare Policy Aaron Frazier. 

During the two-hour session, Montelione highlighted that her premiums have been reduced by 25 percent under the National Restaurant Association program she uses.  She pointed out how the plan’s focus on wellness is a useful tool to attract and retain talented employees.

Belle told Administration officials and meeting attendees that he appreciated the benefit design options within the plan and shared how his employees utilize options like telehealth services.

“The Restaurant & Hospitality Association Benefit Trust offers quality, affordable, and competitive coverage specifically designed for these businesses and their employees,” said Frazier.

“As an Association, this is an important benefit we offer to members and it serves a vital need.  Sharing these stories with policymakers is an important part of our work to continue offering these plans.  We appreciate White House engagement on the issue as well as Administration efforts to continue supporting this key industry service,” he added.

As a follow-up to the session, Association staff have requested additional materials, resources and communications from the Department of Labor to share with small businesses interested in AHPs. The Restaurant AHP is unaffected by a recent federal court ruling on the Labor Department’s rules issued in 2018, but the issue was discussed by some participants.

Administration participants included Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, and representatives from the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Economic Council, Domestic Policy Council and the White House Office of Public Liaison.  The event was moderated by Brian Blase of the National Economic Council; Vice President Mike Pence made an informal visit to greet attendees. 

About the National Restaurant Association

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises more than 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15.5 million employees. Together with 52 State Associations, we are a network of professional organizations dedicated to serving every restaurant through advocacy, education, and food safety. We sponsor the industry's largest trade show (National Restaurant Association Show); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart). For more information, visit and find @WeRRestaurants on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.