Ford Motor Co.
The Ford Motor Co. has announced plans to increase its North American manufacturing capacity by 200,000 vehicles in 2013. Reuters

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust announced Monday that they are launching a program to provide health care to hourly employees and retirees.

The two-year pilot program called Enhanced Care Program is a result of the 2011 Ford-UAW contract negotiations.

The partners said the goal of the program is to address chronic, manageable health care needs and prevent future problems among hourly employees in southeast Michigan, statistically the company's most chronically ill workers.

The group expects 1,200 to 1,500 participants among Ford's 44,500 hourly workers to join the program in Michigan, where Ford and UAW have approximately 18,000 active hourly employees in addition to the Trust's approximately 118,000 non-Medicare retired members.

"This pilot is expected to help us to deliver better health care to our employees, while helping to lower total health care costs," Marty Mulloy, vice president of labor affairs at Ford, said in a statement. Ford spends an average of $7 an hour on health care for its active hourly workers, according to Mulloy.

Ford, like many companies in the U.S., aims to reduce health care costs since new health care laws went into effect nationally.

Enhanced Care will help the selected patients reduce health care costs by about 17 percent, Ford's medical director, Dr. Walt Talamonti, told reporters.