Mercy Health-Cincinnati and St. Elizabeth Healthcare—two of Cincy’s biggest health care providers—are joining forces to lower local healthcare costs for small to midsize businesses (SMBs). They have formed DirectHealth Connect, making it possible for SMBs to work with the systems directly instead of going through an insurance provider.

The new partnership was formed with the help of Boise-based Health2Business, which has established similar collaborations across the U.S.

Mercy Health-Cincinnati president Dave Fikse said the program has arrived as healthcare systems are trying to reduce costs incurred from the pandemic.