The costs of health insurance plans is rising for both employers and employees - as you're probably aware.

There are methods of controlling medical plan costs "” reviewing plans on an annual basis for options and benefits, for instance. Also important is making sure to compare the choices presented to you by various quality insurers, as is finding an adviser who has experience in your industry regarding types of benefits.

So why does the buck stop here? Our CB editorial staff, when poked and prodded about our annual Guide to Health Care, only cared about themselves. They wanted to know what our coverage gave them here locally - and more importantly, if something did go wrong, what to make of the medical landscape. So we have taken note. Below, we've listed the area's myriad hospitals by the medical specialty they are perhaps best known for.

ACUTE CARE

Bethesda Hospital10500 Montgomery Road, Montgomery(513) 745-1111

Bethesda Hospital is an acute and tertiary care hospital that offers a wide range of services to individuals and families. Founded in 1970 as a community satellite facility, Bethesda is now the fourth largest hospital in Cincinnati, offering comprehensive care. Bethesda North Hospital has the second-largest cardiac program in Hamilton County, and recently was ranked the best heart hospital in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana in a study that reviewed clinical quality outcomes.

Mercy Hospital Anderson7500 State Rd., Anderson Twp.(513) 624-4500

Mercy Hospital Anderson is a full-service acute-care hospital and has 24-hour emergency care, 700-member medical staff, medical/surgical intensive care unit, and many other offerings, including a health and fitness center. Mercy Anderson also features The Center for Women's Health, which is equipped with advanced technology and staffed by an team of physicians, nurses and technologists.

BURN CARE

Shriners Hospital for Children3229 Burnett Ave., Clifton(513) 872-6000

The Shriners Hospital is a pediatric burn hospital providing full acute care and rehabilitative care to children who have been burned. There is no charge to the patient or family for any of the medical care or services provided by Shriners Hospitals. The hospital specializes in acute burns, patients needing reconstructive surgery due to healed burns, severe scarring which causes immobility of limbs, and scarring and deformity of the face.

CARDIAC CARE

Christ Hospital2139 Auburn Ave., Mt. Auburn(513) 585-2000

Christ Hospital, a member of the Health Alliance of Cincinnati, is known as "Greater Cincinnati's Heart Hospital" and leads the region in open-heart surgeries. The hospital's other specialties include cardiovascular services, women's services, orthopedics, spine, and cancer care.

Good Samaritan Hospital375 Dixmyth Ave., Clifton(513) 872-1400

Good Samaritan has been a leader in cardiac care for more than a generation, performing the first cardiac catheterization and the first open-heart surgery in a private adult hospital in Cincinnati. More recently, Good Samaritan was the first to use robotics as part of an open-heart surgery.

Jewish Hospital4777 E. Galbraith Road, Kenwood(513) 686-3000

Jewish Hospital is known for its coronary care unit as well as its oncology program and diabetes care unit. Senior citizen care services include an osteoporosis center. Jewish Hospital also offers adolescent chemical dependency programs.

St. Elizabeth Medical Center North401 E. 20th St., Covington(859) 292-4000

St. Elizabeth offers services such as cardiac care, behavioral health, cancer care, hospice, pulmonary rehab, and wound care. The medical center also offers a wide variety of health education classes, screenings and support groups.

St. Elizabeth Medical Center South1 Medical Village Drive, Edgewood(859) 344-2000

St. Elizabeth South was founded in 1978, and has Northern Kentucky's only open-heart surgery program. St. Elizabeth South also boasts the largest outpatient cancer treatment program in Northern Kentucky.

St. Luke West7380 Turfway Road, Florence(859) 962-5200

St. Luke Hospital's services include cardiac care, sleep disorder center, birthing center, hospice, and pediatric services.

MATERNITY

Dearborn County Hospital600 Wilson Creek Road, Lawrenceburg(812) 537-1010

Dearborn County Hospital specializes in many fields including maternity, cancer care, cardiology, home health care, rehabilitation services, and its sub-acute unit.

ONCOLOGY

Middletown Regional Hospital105 McKnight Drive, Middletown(513) 424-2111

Middletown Hospital offers a cancer-care center that focuses on diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation, as well as a cardiac care program that offers the cardiac prevention program, which helps the patient learn important ways to decrease their chances of having heart problems in the future. They also have a women's health services center and a Level III emergency department.

ORTHOPEDICS

Deaconess Hospital311 Straight St., Clifton Heights(513) 559-2100

Deaconess Hospital is the orthopedic leader in Cincinnati thanks to Invasive Surgery Suites and contributions from the community. Deaconess has opened the Regency Hospital on the fourth floor as an acute care hospital to care for long-term, medically complex patients.

PEDIATRICS

Children's Hospital Medical Center3333 Burnett Ave., Avondale(513) 559-4200

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center serves the medical needs of infants, children and adolescents with family-centered care, research and teaching programs. The Children's Hospital Medical Center has many locations for urgent care including Anderson Township, Fairfield, Mason, and West Chester.

PHYSICAL REHAB

Drake Center151 W. Galbraith Rd., Cincinnati(513) 948-2500

Drake Center is where physical and medical rehabilitation patients go when their stay in an acute care hospital is over. Drake offers care to patients with a wide range of illnesses from complex injuries to individuals needing minimal outpatient therapy.

SURGERY

Mercy Hospital Clermont3000 Hospital Dr., Batavia(513) 732-8300

Since 1973, Mercy Hospital Clermont has served as Clermont County's principal health care provider, offering advanced medical care through a variety of services and programs. Mercy Clermont offers surgery, outpatient services, imaging, and emergency care.

Mercy Hospital Fairfield3000 Mack Rd., Fairfield(513) 870-7000

Mercy Hospital Fairfield includes The Heart Hospital at Mercy Fairfield and a Center for Health and Wellness. This 194-bed hospital includes a staff of 555 physicians and provides a variety of services, from maternity to emergency care to surgical services.

Mercy Hospital Mt. Airy2446 Kipling Ave., Mt. Airy(513) 853-5000

Mercy Hospital Mt. Airy is a full-service hospital with 269 beds that offers surgical, orthopedic, cardiac and maternity care as well as a wide range of health care services. Some of these include emergency care, vascular services, imaging, and critical care.

St. Luke Hospital East85 Grand Ave., Fort Thomas (859) 572-3100

St. Luke Hospital East is a 310-bed facility that is a member of the Health Alliance of Cincinnati. The hospital offers an emergency department, behavioral health program, surgery, an endoscopy center, geriatric services, a liquid weight-loss program called Nutrimed, cardiac services, cancer treatment, a diabetes center, a sleep disorders center, women's services, a birthing center, and pediatric care.

TRAUMA & CLINICAL CARE

University Hospital235 Goodman St., Clifton(513) 584-1000

University Hospital, a member of the Health Alliance of Cincinnati, was the first hospital in the United States established primarily for teaching purposes. The institution started the first Emergency Medicine Residency Program in the country. University is one of the only three hospitals in the country to initiate C-STARS, a program that trains military medical personnel in trauma.