Employers Increasingly Opt for Self-Funded Health Plans

The share of employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) enrollees who are in self-funded plans — meaning the employer, rather than an insurer, collects premiums and bears responsibility for paying claims — increased to 60% in 2021 from 55% in 2015, according to a recent Health Affairs study.

Based on 2015 and 2021 Clarivate Interstudy enrollment data, researchers found that in 80.5% of U.S. counties in 2021, the majority of ESI enrollees were in self-funded health plans. Over the years, 78.2% of counties saw growth in the share of ESI enrollees in a self-funded plan. Generally, that growth was concentrated in states with a lower percentage of self-funded plan enrollees in 2015.

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Jinghong Chen

Jinghong Chen Reporter

Jinghong has been producing infographics and data stories on employer-sponsored insurance, public health insurance programs and prescription drug coverage for AIS Health’s Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits since 2018. She also manages AIS Health’s annual executive compensation database for top insurers and Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliates. Before joining AIS Health, she interned at WBEZ, Al Jazeera English and The New York Times Chinese. She graduated from Missouri School of Journalism with a focus on data journalism and international reporting.

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