Ford, UAW and the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust launched a 2-year pilot program, planning to reduce medical costs.

The program is expected to include almost 1, 500 unionized workers and retirees in Michigan with suffering from chronic but manageable diseases. The three parties encourage employees to treat themselves now rather than wait until conditions get more serious, and therefore more expensive.

Over the past years automakers in Detroit have tried to deal with the increased healthcare costs for their employees. Ford, for example, spends $7 an hour for healthcare for all its 44,500 active hourly workers in the US. By addressing health problems earlier, Ford plants to reduce healthcare costs, now as workers and also after they retire.

The UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust spends $4.5 billion annually on healthcare for 800,000 retirees from the Detroit Three. The pilot program is similar to that offered by Boeing, where healthcare costs for workers who joined the program dropped 17% in two years.

Participation to the program is not compulsory and workers must be recommended to the program by their doctors. Each workers joining the pilot program will have access to one of the 12 nurses who will handle a maximum of 125 cases annually.

Source: Reuters


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