Fed up with BCBS and Aetna, Florida employer creates his own health plan

A Florida auto mall owner has created his own health plan for employees after facing high costs and low-quality care from his commercial plan, according to WFTS.

"It had everything to do with the price of insurance for our employees and the lack of benefits that they got," Lakeland Auto Mall owner Greg Balasco told WFTS. "Every single year, we had to fight with the increase of premiums that I would have to pass along to the employees."

Mr. Balasco's employee benefits adviser, Liz Antaya, helped him to create an employer-funded plan to avoid Blue Cross and Aetna.

The new plan offers employees an on-site physician every two weeks, where they don't have to wait for an appointment. Employees receive 30 to 60 minute appointments and 24/7 physician access.

The plan also includes a service called "nurse navigator." If the physician can't address a specific health issue, employees can use the company's nurse navigator and call a customer service line where a registered nurse directs them to a specialist. The service is paid for by the employer if the employee chooses a doctor recommended by the nurse, according to WFTS.

The switch has led to savings between 20 percent and 60 percent, depending on the service.

"You can schedule your appointment during your workday. When your time comes, take your lunch break, step across the street to the building, see the doctor, go back to work," an employee told WFTS. "The quality of care that we get, I think he's better than we've ever had."

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