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Tampa Bay company finds ways to lower health care costs for workers

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Luanne Reese Luanne Reese

Big health insurance companies are predicting premium increases in 2014  for small employers and people who buy coverage on their own.

Experts say rising health care cost and President Barack Obama's health care reform are the reasons for the spike, but there is help for employers to protect themselves and their workforce.

Mease Manor Senior Living in Dunedin offers its employees a service called Patient Care as part of their benefits package. Patient Care helps Mease employees resolve insurance issues and provide assistance with medical, dental, vision, spending account, health savings account and health reimbursements.

"Patient Care saved me several hundred dollars when I was charged for ambulance service that was not covered by my current insurance plan," said  Luanne Reese, an employee at Mease Manor Retirement.   

There was confusion as to what Reese's insurance covered when she was transported by ambulance to the hospital. Patient Care also helps employees with high deductibles shop non emergency procedure and screening. 

"A lot of people don't understand that doctors can do the same procedure at different facilities or hospitals," said Jane Cooper who is the CEO of Patient Care.

With the changing face of health care, Cooper says most people are already dealing with high deductibles. By shopping doctors and hospitals an individual can save thousands of dollars on any specific procedure.

"These are the kinds of tough conversations that people are going to have to have with their doctors," Cooper said.

She went on to explain that many people feel uncomfortable confronting doctors about performing elective surgeries or screenings at another facility. Patient Care is willing to step in and help convince physicians that it's best for the patients' bottom line.

By helping employees become better patient advocates Patient Care is helping to lower the health care burden for companies like Mease Manor.  

"We typically save companies two to three times more money than they pay for our service," Cooper said. 

This is just one of many methods large and small employers are using to manage skyrocketing health care cost for their businesses and employees.

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