More than 37,000 Texas restaurant owners and operators now have access to health insurance and related services through the Restaurant Health Care Alliance, a joint project of the National Restaurant Association and UnitedHealthcare.

The Alliance, partnering with the Texas Restaurant Association, provides a suite of health care products that will help Texas restaurant employees access lower-cost health care coverage and related products and services. These include individual and small-business Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) and Health Savings Account (HSA) health plans, as well as discount programs available through OptumHealth Allies.

In addition, restaurant owners and employees will have access to information about health care coverage options, and tax and eligibility changes that are occurring in 2011 and beyond.

"The rising cost of providing health benefits coverage for hourly and part-time employees has long been a key challenge facing restaurant owners and operators," said Richie Jackson, CEO, Texas Restaurant Association. "By helping our members and their employees understand and access the health care options available to them, we believe we can ensure the industry continues to prosper. We look forward to working with UnitedHealthcare in this partnership to provide the resources and information the industry needs."

The restaurant industry is the second-largest private-sector employer in Texas, representing 9 percent of employment in Texas, according to the NRA.

Read more about insurance coverage.

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