(Bloomberg) — Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford said the company is considering a health care co-op, an issue the United Auto Workers union has raised in negotiations on a new contract.
“We’re discussing it and we’ll see where it goes,” Ford said of a co-op, which could pool care for about 295,000 union and nonunion workers. “There are always issues and it’s early days, but I feel great.”
Ford, who spoke Wednesday at an Inkster, Mich., event honoring company volunteers, said he’s optimistic about reaching a settlement on a replacement for the four-year accord that ends Sept. 14.
The UAW has turned its attention to a health care pool based on the success of a $61 billion fund started in 2010 that provides medical coverage for more than 750,000 retired auto workers. The UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust has cut drug costs, added preventive care and restored benefits such as dental and vision while also increasing assets.
See also: UAW wants health care pool of three U.S. automakers to cut costs
UAW President Dennis Williams raised the idea of creating a health care cooperative for active union and nonunion employees at Ford, General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s U.S.-based unit in a June roundtable with reporters.