“My employees absolutely love HMAA! To put it plainly, we would receive gripes and moans about our previous health plan provider because our staff felt restricted within their network, but since switching, there have been none.” Thomas Ray, Co-owner
Like many members of the Hawaii Restaurant Association (HRA), Square Barrels is a small, highly energetic enterprise employing fewer than a dozen full-time equivalent employees. For co-owner Thomas Ray, it is his first business venture, having spent six years in the U.S. Navy and then three years as a Financial Advisor. The former position taught him the importance of self-discipline and processes; the latter about good fiscal management and keeping a close eye on the bottom line.
Opened in April 2015, Ray’s downtown Honolulu restaurant enjoys a loyal following for its craft burgers and international selection of craft beers. Square Barrel’s continued success depends on healthy and happy employees, meticulous attention to product quality, and consistently excellent customer service.
“I take great satisfaction in knowing that my employees are well taken care of,” Ray said. “Their wellbeing and overall happiness are incredibly important to me and if the culture of our business wasn’t focused on enriching their lives, I believe we would have a much higher employee turnover.”
When Hawaii Medical Assurance Association (HMAA) partnered with HRA to offer its members an exciting new option for health plan benefits, Ray was keen to find out more. He soon realized that not only would HRA’s Association Health Plan offering result in immediate savings for his business, but HMAA also had a provider network second to none and would give his employees a choice of plans best suited to their needs, something their existing plan did not. The decision to switch quickly became a no-brainer.
On his employees’ reaction to the new health plan, Ray said, “They absolutely love it! To put it plainly, we would receive gripes and moans about our previous health plan provider because our staff felt restricted within their network, but since switching to HMAA, there have been none.” For Ray, some of the most attractive features of the plan are that he can walk to the pharmacy across the street for any prescription he needs, and he was able to return as a patient to his previous healthcare providers with whom he had a great relationship. Furthermore, the Square Barrels team appreciates that HMAA covers alternative care such as acupuncture, chiropractic and naturopathic, and that they can access physicians 24/7. The new benefits have invigorated the team and put a spotlight on the importance of maintaining good health.
When not working, Ray and many of his employees enjoy skateboarding together and whatever their preference, everyone is encouraged to participate in some kind of physical activity. “I am a member of CrossFit Oahu, which has been a fantastic fitness choice for me,” said Ray.
He notes that fit, healthy employees tend to be happier team members with great attitudes and fewer workdays lost to illness.