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City Considers Direct Employee Health Plan With UF Health Jacksonville

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A plan to save the city money while shoring up UF Health Jacksonville’s bottom line would require buy-in from city employees in order to work.The idea being considered by a special City Council committee calls for the hospital system to provide services directly to employees, possibly bypassing the city’s healthcare provider, in this case Florida Blue.

According to city council member Matt Schellenberg, Jacksonville has given UF Health, formerly Shands, nearly $262 million dollars over the past 11 years.

Add to that the $90 million a year that goes to employees’ insurance premiums and you’ve got a huge chunk of change that, he says, can be better spent.

“The city owns the hospital. They take care of the vast majority of people who don’t, unfortunately, have medical insurance," he said. "We can continue to just give them money or we might encourage the employees to maybe use the facility. It makes sense for the city as well as UF Health.”

Schellenberg, who chairs the City Council’s Special Committee on Utilizing UF Health as a Healthcare Delivery Organization, says he’d like city workers to get the same health coverage as that of the hospital’s own employees.

He’d also like to establish a UF Health clinic downtown that would, he says, save both time and money.

Schellenberg says the committee hopes to have something to show the mayor this May. Its next meeting is set for April 3.

You can follow Cyd Hoskinson on Twitter @cydwjctnews.