Dunedin, Clearwater partner to cut employee health care costs
DUNEDIN -- A new partnership with Clearwater is expected to save Dunedin residents thousands of dollars in health care costs for city workers and their families.
Starting July 9, workers enrolled in Dunedin's health plan will be eligible to seek out routine medical care and generic medications at the health clinic Clearwater rolled out two years ago for its employees.
Employees aren't required to use the clinic, which doesn't offer specialist care or name-brand medications. They can still obtain drugs or see a doctor of their choosing through the city's traditional insurance plan.
But Dunedin officials are hoping most will take advantage of the new agreement, which they say will cut down costs by providing health services at a fixed cost. The clinic will emphasize preventative care in an effort to reduce the number of high-dollar claims Dunedin paid out of its self-insured medical plan last year for emergency room visits, surgeries and other serious conditions.
Dunedin anticipates saving taxpayers $86,000 to $332,000 in avoided claims during the partnership's first year.
Eligible employees and their dependents - 700 in all - are projected to save between $44,000 and $75,000 in eliminated co-pays for doctor appointments and prescriptions - an incentive officials hope will encourage them to jump aboard.
Clearwater estimates that the clinic resulted in a claims avoidance of just over $3.2 million between its July 2010 opening and December 2011, DelPrete said. Nearly 2,700 Clearwater employees, retirees and their dependents saved about $950,000 in avoided co-pays.
Similar results would be a boon for self-insured Dunedin, which essentially wiped out its fund paying out about $2.6 million in claims for employees and their families last fiscal year. Officials hope the clinic will help the city begin to build a reserve.
Under a one-year contract approved by Dunedin commissioners last week, the city will pay $305,317 to Clearwater and CareATC for administrative oversight, medical staffing and other operation costs.
--Keyonna Summers, Times Staff Writer
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