Archived Content

Driving Innovation In the Health Care Marketplace:

A CEO Report

Darden Restaurants, Inc.

Darden owns and operates some of America’s favorite restaurants, including Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House. We employ 150,000 individuals who prepare and serve more than 320 million meals a year in 1,500 locations. At Darden, we care about our employees and their families, and our people-focused culture strives to create a nurturing and sustaining environment for everyone. 

We’ve built a strong culture by listening to our employees. That’s why, in 2013, we implemented the Health Insurance Marketplace after our employees told us they wanted more choice and control over their health care dollars and a better understanding of their benefits. 

Prior to 2013, Darden offered a single provider for medical, dental and vision coverage. Today, our new Marketplace allows employees to choose the medical, dental and vision plans that best fit their needs. Employees may choose among five medical plans from up to five insurance companies, four dental plans from three insurance companies and three vision plans from three insurance companies. Three of the new medical plans offer lower weekly costs compared to the previous options, and all plans cover preventive care at 100 percent. All dental and vision plans also offer lower-cost options. 

To help our employees make the best decisions for themselves and their family members, the Marketplace includes decision-support tools that allow them to choose a provider that best fits their needs. Employees can also estimate their annual medical costs to ensure that they make the optimal choice. 

But we didn’t stop there. We’ve worked to enhance our benefit offerings in a number of ways, including several new programs for 2014. One is a new add-on program called 1st Day Choice that provides immediate, first-day coverage. We also offer Benefit Bundle — a bundle of discount programs, including TeleDoc, which allows employees to speak with a medical professional over the phone, rather than requiring an office visit, as well as offering discounts at retail and urgent care centers and for prescriptions. 

Darden is focused on continuous innovation that connects our entire workforce to health solutions. As the health care landscape continues to change, we play a critical role in helping our employees understand the options available to meet their needs. To this end, we created a unique website — Here, Darden employees can learn about medical options available in their state and get help applying for coverage. This service is free to our employees and their friends and families 


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BRT companies provide health coverage to more than 40 million Americans. We help American workers and their families remain healthy, receive quality treatment when necessary and achieve better health outcomes. The private-sector innovations in the insurance marketplace that enable us to provide these services to our employees and their families serve as models for public programs — but additional reforms are necessary.

This report highlights the innovations we have made and the public policy changes we believe would drive value by promoting health and improving outcomes.